Chicago Bears Re-Sign CB Tracy Porter

Photo by DiliVishwanat/Getty Images
Photo by DiliVishwanat/Getty Images /
Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images /

The Bears took a minor risk on the oft-injured cornerback Tracy Porter before the 2015 season by signing him to a veteran minimum deal for one year at $870k. Porter missed most of the preseason with hamstring issues and was on the roster bubble, but the Bears took a chance on Porter by keeping him on the roster and it paid off.

He started 13 games for the Bears, taking over for the ineffective Alan Ball in week 4, and lead all Bears defensive backs with 22 passes defended. Porter was one of the heroes of the Bears Thanksgiving upset over the Green Bay Packers with an interception, another interception called back on a phantom penalty, and became the first NFL player to defend four Aaron Rodgers passes in one game. It was the highlight of the season for both Porter and the Bears.

Porter had a solid year for the Bears in 2015 and was their best and most consistent corner for most of the season, but the Bears are taking a much bigger risk on Porter this year re-signing him today to a 3-year, $16.5M contract. In his eight-year NFL career Porter has made it through a full 16 game season just once (2013, OAK) and with a three-year deal in his back pocket will Porter have the motivation to play through the minor injuries that have plagued him his whole career?

Porter’s play slipped towards the end of the 2015 season which dropped his overall PFF grade comparable to the players making $3-$4M per year, but Porter is a veteran leader in a very young group of cornerbacks which provides monetizable value. Porter provided stability to a position last season that was a mess for the first quarter of 2015.

At the end of the day I am glad the Bears brought Porter back which is why I had him on my defensive back wish list, but I expected him to be brought back at about a third of the price tag. Porter going from a 1-year, veteran minimum deal to a 3-year, $16.5M contract is a considerable raise for a player not known for his fortitude and had a real chance of backfiring.

Unfortunately the high price tag is just the reality of the cornerback market, as we saw when inconsistent CB Jenoris Jenkins make $12.5M per season and 32 year-old, off-field wildman Pac-Man Jones make about $7M per… It’s the nature of the beast and the Bears needed to make a respectable financial commitment to Porter if they wanted to keep him on the roster as he was rumored to have 4-5 similar if not more lucrative offers on the table.

I don’t think anyone was expecting Porter to get almost a $5M raise, much less a three year deal for a guy who was almost out of the league last year, but Porter is only 29 and there is no doubt that the Bears are a better team with Porter on the roster than without him. There is still plenty of time and cap space left to bring in additional corners to push Porter and make sure he will play through his inevitable nagging injuries. It’s a passing league now and teams need as many competent corners as possible and when healthy Porter is the most consistently competent corner on the Bears roster right now.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports /

In a less controversial move, the Bears brought back RB Jacquizz Rodgers on a 1-year deal to provide depth at running back and more importantly value on special teams. The Bears also re-signed practice squad offensive tackle Nick Becton who has the potential to be a depth swing tackle in the next year or two.