Chicago Bears – Remaining Free Agents (Linebackers)

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Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Outside Linebacker

Geno Hayes, Jags (27 | 6’1 | 226) – Versatile linebacker who can play inside or outside and is coming off the best season of his career as the Jags weak-side OLB. He would be a better fit at inside linebacker in Fangio’s scheme due to a lack of size and his strong run stopping ability. Hayes is a step or two slow in coverage but would make a solid backup who can fill in at multiple positions and contribute on special teams.

Sam Acho, Cardinals (26 | 6’2 | 262): Max effort player and good locker room presence who was forced into more playing time than expected last season, but held his own. Acho only had 2 sacks, but finished 4th on a good Cards defensive with 23 QB hurries despite only playing 44% of the defensive snaps. He’s not a great athlete (by NFL standards), but his hustle, intelligence, and quickness make him an effective pass rusher. Acho is just entering his prime at 26 years old and coming off his first taste of success in the NFL. Even if he only has a situational role as an OLB, Acho’s leadership in the locker room, non-stop motor, off-field charity work, and ability to contribute on special teams combine to make him far more valuable than the modest salary ($1.5M?) it would take to sign him.