Chicago Bears Expecting Big Things From Nate Collins in 2013

By Devin O'Barr
Nate Collins with the Chicago Bears
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears made a big move on Tuesday when they brought in former New Orleans Saints left tackle Jermon Bushrod to sure up an iffy offensive line. Two days later, the Bears made another move and this time on the defensive line by acquiring Nate Collins on a one-year deal.

Collins was on the team last season, but was a minimal factor all year long as he was inactive for the Bears’ in seven of the team’s 16 games. This season appears to be a little different with the team having an opening at defensive tackle after releasing Matt Toeaina on Wednesday. Letting go of Toeaina wasn’t the Bears initial plan, but after the underperforming tackle refused to take a pay cut, Chicago had no choice but to show him the door.

Mel Tucker was named the Bears defensive  coordinator this offseason and that will pay dividends to Collins who has some NFL history with Tucker. In 2010 and 2011, Tucker was the defensive coordinator with the Jacksonville Jaguars when Collins was in his first and second years with the same club–hopefully the familiar staff can get the most out of Collins.

This is a low-risk, high-reward scenario for the Bears as Collins is making the league minimum in 2013 with a salary of  $715,000. Henry Melton is now the top-priority for general manager Phil Emery. The All-Pro defensive tackle got franchise tagged earlier this month and the two are still looking for a long-term deal.

At the end of the day, this move is a cheap signing that should provide some added depth to an aging defense. Keep an eye on Collins as the reunion with Tucker could spell big things.

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