Bears extend defensive tackle Andrew Billings
Geoff Burke - USA Today Sports

Bears extend defensive tackle Andrew Billings

by - Senior Writer -

Despite the Chicago Bears sitting at 2-6 and practically out of playoff contention, it hasn't stopped Ryan Poles from building toward a brighter future. Trading away Chase Claypool was the start for all of that, but it is what the Bears have done in recent days that has the fans a bit more optimistic about the direction this team is going.

It started during the trade deadline when the Bears parted ways with a second-round pick to acquire Montez Sweat from the Commanders in an effort to improve their pass rush. To take it a step further, the Bears are currently trying to extend the former first-round pick, which would give them an elite pass rusher going forward. While the deal may take a little while to get done, the Bears have addressed one of their expiring contracts as they have extended Andrew Billings to a brand new two-year deal.

Billings isn't the biggest name when it comes to the Bears defense, but at 28 years old the Bears have now addressed one of their defensive tackle needs as they continue to build around young players. Signed to a one-year deal this offseason, Billings has been one of the bright spots on the defensive side of the ball this season, which helped land him this new extension.

The former Las Vegas Raider has quickly become the team's top interior lineman, and the Bears know the value he brings to the table and how important he is to this defense. One thing the Bears have struggled with at times this season is stopping the run, but Billings hasn't had that issue. He is the one guy who will zone in on the ball carrier and do what he needs to do to make a play.

He also has the athletic ability to get through the offensive line to get after the QB. Through his eight games this season, Billings has 14 tackles, which may not seem like a ton, but a lot of the time, they are going away from his side on the line. Three of those tackles have come behind the lineup of scrimmage while also delivering a QB hit. This is a down year for Billings when you look at his track record, but if he continues to show the effort he has in recent weeks, the sacks will start to come.

Prior to his time with the Raiders, Billings was a fifth-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals and also spent time on the Cleveland Browns roster. Granted, the constant changing of teams is a concern, but every stop Billings has made has seen him produce at some level. When it comes to the details of the contract, the deal is two years and worth just shy of nine million.

That could be considered a bargain depending on how his play goes from this point on, but to add a guy like Billings beyond this season is a massive win for the Bears. When talking about keeping Billings around, Poles was excited about the decision and is looking forward to seeing what he can do.

"We're extremely excited to be fortunate enough to keep Andrew in Chicago," Poles said Via "The professionalism, dependability, and toughness he brings to our defense exhibit the type of player we want inside our organization."

Not only will an increase in production likely come from Billings, but his leadership on the defensive line for guys like Zaach Pickens and Gervon Dexter can't go unnoticed. The young guys gravitate toward him for advice, and he is always willing to help them when needed. That is more important than the overall production at times, as the Bears know that the young guys will be part of a bigger and brighter future.

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