Almost a week into the beginning of NFL free agency, the Chicago Bears have made eight signings that should vastly improve their roster for 2014. Six of the eight deals were on the defensive side of ball, and there’s a possibility that the Bears could be adding another very soon. Defensive end Israel Idonije is scheduled to visit Chicago and take a physical on Tuesday.
Idonije, who signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions in 2013, was a member of the Bears from 2004-12. Idonije primarily played as a major special teams contributor, but he cracked the starting lineup in 2010. During his three-year stint as a starter, Idonije amassed 20.5 sacks playing both defensive end and defensive tackle for Chicago.
The potential return of Idonije will greatly benefit the Bears’ defensive front. In addition to the signings of defensive ends Lamarr Houston and Willie Young along with the re-signings of defensive tackles Nate Collins and Jeremiah Ratliff, Idonije will give Chicago’s D-line much more depth and versatility.
Furthermore, signing the 11-year veteran will be a smart move, considering that the chances of re-signing unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Henry Melton are dwindling day after day. Melton has visited with the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, and he could join either of these teams very soon.
Slowly but surely the Bears are bolstering their defensive line with quality pieces. The probable addition of Idonije and a first-round draft pick this May will give Chicago a solid foundation for a defense that has nowhere to go but up after their disastrous 2013 campaign.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller.