Bears finish up busy day with addition of talented DL
George Walker - USA Today Sports

Bears finish up busy day with addition of talented DL

by - Senior Writer -

As expected, the Chicago Bears have come out of the gates on fire as the initial free-agent process has begun. Granted, none of the deals made today can become official until Wednesday, but that hasn't stopped the Bears from being the most aggressive team on the market.

It all started with TJ Edwards signing a three-year deal as he is looking to fill the LB role. Then you saw Tremaine Edmunds ink a four-year contract as he will also join the Bears defense. Chicago didn't stop there as they added Nate Davis to the offensive line with the hopes of him keeping Justin Fields upright for the next three seasons. That alone is an excellent showing for the Bears, and most fans would have been content with the Bears stopping there.

However, they still have more than 70 million to spend, which is why this team will continue to be aggressive. Chicago continued to add to their roster in the overnight hours as former Tennessee Titans DE DeMarcus Walker will be playing the 2023 NFL season with the Chicago Bears and has agreed to a two-year 14 million dollar contract.

Walker has been a consistently good player during his tenure with the Titans, but he is coming off a career year, and the Bears are rewarding him for his performance. The 28-year-old picked up a career-best seven sacks in 2022, adding 32 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, and 16 QB hits. All those numbers were career highs, and when you look at his production before this season, it is easy to see why this was a breakout campaign.

To put those numbers into perspective, Walker had 6.5 sacks, seven tackles-for-loss, and 12 QB Hits in 26 games over the 2020-21 seasons with the Broncos and Texans. Clearly, something clicked for Walker in Nashville. And now, the Bears are betting on that to continue in Chicago as Chicago remakes their defense.

Walker set career highs in quarterback pressures (30) and defensive stops (16) in 2021, and he backed that up with 32 quarterback pressures, seven sacks, and 21 defensive stops in 2022. He has posted a pressure rate above 10% in back-to-back seasons. Many teams could benefit from Walker logging around 400-500 productive snaps off the edge. Looking at the Chicago pass rush, or the lack of a pass rush, Walker will be an upgrade on the defensive side of the ball, and the Bears know how important that is.

When the Bears elected to part ways with Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn, they had virtually no pass rush. Trevis Gipson showed flashes of being a capable pass rusher last season and led the team in sacks, but he will not match the production lost by those two. That is why the addition of Walker is essential. He will give Gipson another pass rusher on the other Edge which could open things up for both guys.

The Bears also have Dominique Robinson, who has a bright future as things continue to unfold on the Bears defense. While this is another under-the-radar pickup, adding Walker is not the end, as the Bears are not yet done. Most people expect the Bears to add defensive talent via the draft, but there are several big names on the free-agent market for the Bears to look at.

The Walker signing isn’t giving off the vibes that suggest he will be getting a total share of the reps at the defensive end, but that might not be a bad thing. You can never have too much depth on a football team, and the Bears are certainly adding a ton of depth right now. It will be interesting to see what the Bears plans are from here, but Ryan Poles has done a great job of filling the needs of this team, and he isn't done yet.

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