It wasn’t as big as the splash made in 2010, but the Chicago Bears have agreed to terms with defensive end Lamarr Houston at the very beginning of the NFL’s 2014 free agency period, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Chicago locked up Houston with a five-year, $35 million contract.
Houston, who spent the first four years of his career with the Oakland Raiders, is a defensive end who is considered a good fit for either the 4-3 or the 3-4 alignment. As of right now, the Bears are set to play in the 4-3 scheme, but that philosophy could change anytime between now and the start of the 2014 regular season.
The numbers Houston put up in Oakland weren’t eye-popping. His six sacks in 2013 are a career high for him, and has only accumulated 16 sacks during his four years in the NFL. However, the most important number to focus on is 26, which is Houston’s age. Chicago is definitely getting some much-needed youth along the defensive line, especially seeing that the Bears are eventually going to part ways with the 34-year-old Julius Peppers.
In addition, bringing Houston in is the start of increasing the depth at the defensive end position. The departure of Peppers is evident, Shea McClellin has transitioned to outside linebacker, and the future of unrestricted free agent Corey Wootton is still in the air.
Even with the signing of Houston, the Bears still might have to direct their attention to defensive end in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller.