Chicago Bears Free Agency Wish List: 3-4 Outside Linebackers
Bruce Irvin, Seahawks (26) – I don’t think the Bears have much of shot at signing Irvin as most rumors have him going to either Atlanta or Jacksonville to re-unite with one of his former defensive coordinators Dan Quinn (ATL) or Gus Bradley (JAX). Though if for some reason those deals fall through than the Bears should be waiting on Irvin’s doorstep.
Irvin has been playing out of position with the Seahawks the last few years as a strong-side OLB, where he spent most of his 3rd downs in coverage instead of rushing the passer. Coming out of college, Irvin had the natural burst and athleticism to potentially be a pass-rushing force off the edge. At 6’3, 245 pounds Irvin finished first among all LBs at the combine in the 40-yard dash (4.50, which was .13 faster than the next guy, Shea McClellin!), 3-cone (6.7), and 20-yard shuttle (4.03) and was called the most natural and explosive pass-rusher in the 2012 draft by draftnik Mike Mayock.
The Seahawks decided to use Irvin as a more transitional linebacker and utilize his speed in coverage instead of as a pass rusher. They were in a unique position in that Seattle they already had a dangerous pass rush, but on the Bears Irvin would be by far the most explosive edge rusher on the roster and could team with McPhee to give the Bears a potentially dangerous pair of rushers off the edge. Irvin may already have a hand-shake deal in place with another team and he will be expensive ($10M+ per), but edge rushers are hard to find and Irvin has the athleticism and potential to be a very good one.
Projected salary: 4-yr, $42M
*Assuming the Bears don’t have a chance at negotiating with Irvin, then who are the next players on my wish list? I’ve listed a couple on the next page. Before you rip me in the comments, keep in mind that’s it’s a weak free agent class for 3-4 pass rushers.
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