At 3 p.m. CT today, the NFL free agency period officially began. News started rolling in that deals were officially being agreed upon and players were to be released from their contracts to become unrestricted free agents in the pool.
The Chicago Bears have been in search of the next player to add to their defensive line since the news broke earlier this week that the team was set to cut ties with defensive end Julius Peppers. Due to his $18 million hit on the team’s salary cap, they were looking to trade him. If that failed, they would outright release him from his contract.
That moment occurred moments ago as a contract was agreed upon between the Bears and free agent defensive end Lamarr Houston. That deal is said to be for five years and worth over $35 million over that time. Houston spent the first four seasons of his career as a player on the Oakland Raiders.
The main thing this team needed to address this offseason was its defense, and they certainly did so with this signing. While he may not be the speed rusher that many teams would covet landing, he is a huge bodied end with skills to play on any of the four spots along the defensive line. Going back to his playing days in college, he alternated between end and tackle. He is still young and increasing his knowledge of the position.
The Bears can use his ability as bull rusher to increase their pressure into the offensive backfield which would also do much to help support their run defense. Last season, they finished dead last in rushing yards allowed per game and tied for 28th in team sacks.