Roster Move: Bears sign former Texans DL Byron Cowart
Thomas Shea - USA Today Sports

Roster Move: Bears sign former Texans DL Byron Cowart

by - Senior Writer -

For whatever reason, Ryan Poles must like the Houston Texans as he continues to do his homework on their roster. Less than 48 hours after adding Jake Martin as pass rush help, Poles returned to the Houston roster, where he plucked up Martin's teammate Byron Cowart and signed him to a one-year deal.

Although Cowart is a long shot to make this team or even be a major contributor, Poles will continue adding bodies to this roster as he pushes toward making it a 90-man training camp roster. Ideally, you would love to add significant contributors at this point in free agency, but when it comes to offensive and defensive linemen, the more, the merrier.

Cowart is, in fact, a defensive lineman and will bring some much-needed depth and toughness to the interior part of that line. At 27 years old, Cowart has been around for a few years but has yet to do much to create his own lane in the NFL. 2023 was a rough season for him overall as he bounced between the Kansas City Chiefs and Texans, but didn't appear in any games. Clearly, the Bears must've liked something from his past seasons, or maybe his former teammate Martin had some good things to say.

Initially a fifth-round pick by the New England Patriots in 2019, Cowart hasn't seen a ton of action throughout his career. He has logged 34 games over those five seasons with 14 starts. Ironically, the 2020 season was his best season, as he started all 14 of the games he appeared in. That was the COVID year, as he took over the position of some players who elected to opt-out and ran with the opportunity given to him.

Over those 14 games, Cowart registered his first and only career sack while adding three tackles for a loss and three QB hits. That falls in line with his lack of overall production throughout his career, as Cowart has been dealing with injuries since the day he was drafted. That is a tough pill to swallow, as he was very productive while at the University of Maryland, and many felt he was one of the late-round steals of his draft class.

Considering the Bears' need for depth help at the DT position, you can see why they are bringing him in, even if this acquisition does come with some risk. However, this is one of those low-risk pickups that will cost the team next to nothing, and if he can remain healthy, maybe there is a chance he can do something. After all, Cowart awaited his chance in 2020, so maybe all he needs is another chance and a fresh start.

Looking at what the Bears defense could look like in week one, expect Montez Sweat and DeMarcus Walker to be on the Edge with Andrew Billings and Gervon Dexter on the interior. Cowart will join a long list of reserves up front, including Martin, Zacch Pickens, Dominique Robinson, Michael Dwumfour, Daniel Hardy, and Khalid Kareem. The last three have been signed to future contracts so Cowart is ahead of them on the depth chart for now.

When you look at both the starters and reserve options, the Bears have plenty of options, but none of the reserve options have had much long-term success. That makes these depth signings especially crucial, as the Bears are trying to build the best roster they can. When the Bears defense was at their best, you had the lethal combination of Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks.

Although there is talent to make another pairing like that with Sweat, the overall depth for that isn't quite there, which is why Poles continues to make these moves. At some point, the Bears are going to have to go all out and add a significant piece to their defensive line; others will consider it a missed opportunity.

However, these depth signings will go a long way, and Poles knows the more depth he adds, the better situated his team will be.

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