After missing out on free agent defensive linemen Michael Bennett and Michael Johnson to the Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers respectively, the Chicago Bears hopped on the next best thing and landed free agent DE Lamarr Houston in the first hours of the free agency period.
The Bears reached an agreement with the former Oakland Raider for five years and $35 million, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Houston led the Raiders with a career-high six sacks, and also led Oakland’s defensive linemen with 71 tackles and two forced fumbles. Houston is a 4-3 pass rusher the Bears had to pick up to bolster a defensive line that was statistically one of the worst in the NFL from a season ago. The Bears’ defense posted a league low 31 sacks last season.
The addition of Houston will also most likely mean the departure of eight-time pro bowl defensive end Julius Peppers, who is scheduled to make $13.9 million in salary next season and his cap number, which is at $18.183 million. The Bears are looking to trade Peppers, and if not trade him, cut him to save money that could go towards signing their own free agents, such as Charles Tillman, Josh McCown and Henry Melton.
This is the first big splash for the Bears during the free agency period, but will not be the last. The defensive line is one of many defensive positions the Bears will need to revamp on one of the worst defensive in the NFL last season. The Bears will also be looking to add a defensive back in free agency, and possibly a linebacker, to help a linebacking crew where only Lance Brigg’s job is safe.
I am looking forward to finding out who the Bears will add next.