Chicago Bears Sign M.D. Jennings, Add More Competition for Chris Conte

By Clyde A. Speller
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

We’re only two days into NFL free agency, and the Chicago Bears have already bolstered their defense with five signings. During day one, the Bears inked deals with defensive end Lamarr Houston, linebackers D.J. Williams and Jordan Senn and safety Ryan Mundy. Now you can add safety M.D. Jennings to the list, who agreed to a one-year deal with Chicago.

Jennings spent the first three years of his career with the Green Bay Packers, and during that time, the 2011 undrafted free agent started 26 regular season games for Green Bay.

This addition definitely shows just how serious the Bears are about fixing a defense that didn’t come close to complementing an offense that was ranked second in the NFL in 2013. Most importantly, the signing of Jennings indicates that the chances of Chris Conte cracking the starting lineup for 2014 are drastically decreasing.

Conte was one half of the league’s worst safety duo last year, along with unrestricted free agent Major Wright. The one play that totally soured Conte’s image in the mouths of Bears fans and coaches was in the regular-season finale against Jennings and the Packers when Conte’s missed assignment led to Green Bay scoring the game-winning touchdown in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, eliminating the Bears from clinching postseason berth.

With both Jennings and Mundy coming in as free safeties, all arrows seem to be point to the bench for Conte, who will be entering the final year of his rookie contract. Conte will get a chance to compete for his starting job, but I don’t see Chicago putting a safety on the bench that they are investing more money in. The future looks grim for Conte, but it appears to be much brighter for the Bears’ secondary.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller.

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