The Bears signed SS Adrian Wilson today to a 1-year contract. The terms haven’t been disclosed yet, but I’m guessing it’s a veteran minimum deal. After playing with the Arizona Cardinals for all 12 years of his career, Wilson signed a 3-year $5M deal with the Patriots last season. Wilson tore his Achilles in the pre-season but was rumored to be on the roster bubble due to a lackluster performance in training camp. Wilson has a pretty impressive resume; He has made 5 Pro Bowls, holds the NFL record for most sacks in a season by a defense back (8) and is the Cardinals all-time leader in pass deflections (95) and forced fumbles (15). Wilson’s last Pro Bowl was in 2011 when he earned a 20.5 overall grade from Pro Football Focus which was 2nd in the NFL at the safety position behind Troy Polamalu.
Wilson isn’t the same player that made 5 Pro Bowls, but he could provide an upgrade or at least some competition for current starting SS Ryan Mundy. Wilson had a down year in his last full season (2012) with a -2.5 grade from PFF and only 54 tackles, which was the 3rd lowest total of his 12-year career. When compared to Major Wright and Chris Conte’s combined -43.4 grade last year, I think the Bears would be content with a -2.5 grade from the SS position. Wilson may not have enough left in the tank to earn a starting job or maybe the year off revitalized him. At 35 years old, Wilson is a long shot so Bear fans need to temper their expectations, but there really isn’t any downside to bringing in a talented veteran to compete for the position. It’s not like he’s going to take snaps away from a younger strong safety prospect because the Bears don’t have one (assuming Vereen stays as FS).
The Bears were busy today also signing TE Jerun Mastrud who was with the Raiders last season. Mastrud (26, 6’5, 257) had a career high 6 catches for 88 yards last season. He’s primarily a blocking tight end which makes this a confusing addition, since the Bears already have established blocking TEs Donte Rosario and Matthew Mulligan on the roster. After the release of Fendi Onobun, the Bears don’t have an H-back / move TE type on the roster. Both Emery and Trestman have mentioned the need for that type of TE during the off-season, so maybe they see Mastrud as having that type of potential or maybe he is just depth. The signings of Wilson and Mastrud bring the Bears to the 90-man roster limit.