The Chicago Bears announced that they have re-signed strong safety Craig Steltz to a 1-year deal presumably for the veteran minimum. Steltz is a solid special teams player, but limited athletically and struggled when given a chance to play on defense. Steltz was given one start at strong safety last season in week 13 and made 10 tackles but also earned a negative -5.8 grade from Pro Football Focus. To put that grade in perspective, it was the worst single game grade on the Bears defense all season. Worse than Chris Conte or Major Wright’s worst game, which is hard to believe. The majority of his negative grade was due to his run defense, it seems Steltz isn’t fast or strong enough to be a factor against the run. Maybe its unfair to judge Steltz on just one game, it was an awful performance, but he did start four games in 2011 and earned a positive 4.5 grade from PFF. Regardless of his inadequacies on defense, he is currently the #2 SS on the depth chart behind recent free agent signing Ryan Mundy. Hopefully Phil Emery is not done adding talent at the SS position.
Steltz does have value on special teams and he was the Bears 2nd highest rated coverage guy (4.0) after Blake Costanzo (6.0). The majority of his positive grade comes from his coverage on kick-offs though and he actually carried a -1.0 grade on punt coverage. With kickoffs becoming touchbacks at a record 50.1% last season, I don’t know how much sense it makes to sign a guy whose main value is on kickoff coverage. By all accounts Steltz is a hard worker and good locker room guy, so there is that I guess.