Bears 2016 Free Agent Options: Defensive Line

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /


DE Derrick Shelby, Dolphins – Has spent most of his four year career as a back-up (1 start) but is coming off his most productive season yet with 4 sacks, 31 QB pressures, and 6 QB hits despite limited playing time. Shelby has bulked up to a solid 270+ pounds which is big enough to play the 5-tech in the Bears scheme at least as a 3rd down pass rusher. He’s also solid against the run with 42 tackles last season. The former undrafted fee agent should have a reasonable price tag and would be an upgrade over anyone the Bears played at DE last season.

DE Jared Crick, Texans – Started all but one game for the Texans at DE over the last two seasons and is a solid, if unspectacular, run stopper. Crick has had just 5.5 sacks over the last two years, but does get a respectable amount of pressures and has a knack for batting down passes with 8 over the last two seasons. The former 4th round pick in 2012 is only 26 so still has time to improve and like most players on this list would be a significant upgrade.

NT Ian Williams, 49ers – DC Vic Fangio is familiar with Williams from his time in San Fran and was said to be high on him during his time there. In his first full season as a starter last year, Williams was one of the best players on a bad team. He has a force against the run with more stops than any NTs except Damon Harrison (listed above) and the Eagles Bennie Logan.

Williams is only 26 and just coming into the prime of his career. I’m not sure he would sign somewhere without a clear starting nose tackle job, but the Bears play enough four-man fronts that Williams would still see plenty of snaps even if he’s not the primary nose tackle. Maybe a reunion with Fangio and an aggressive offer from the Bears would be enough to get a deal done.