The Chicago Bears offered DL Jaye Howard a contract but no deal has been struck.
The Chicago Bears have been working on improving the roster with the signing of a few veterans and undrafted rookie free agents since the draft. What could potentially be the best addition to the roster could be free agent defensive lineman Jaye Howard.
The Bears brought in Howard for a physical and a meeting, and according to Adam Schefter, the Bears were pleased with what they saw.
The Bears certainly could use some defensive line help. Akiem Hicks was great for them last season and Eddie Goldman is very good when he’s on the field, but beyond that, the Bears don’t have anything concrete. Mitch Unrein is a serviceable end at best and Jonathan Bullard had an underwhelming rookie campaign.
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Howard is a versatile defender. He can step in and start opposite Hicks at DE but also has the ability to play inside. Two years ago when Dontari Poe was injured, Howard excelled at the nose tackle position for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Howard was an absolute monster in 2015. He was constantly in opponents’ backfields and was stellar against the run and generated an interior pass rush as well. Unfortunately, Howard’s 2016 season was derailed by injuries, and the Chiefs decided to part ways with him.
The Bears liked what they saw with Howard. They had a productive meeting and he passed their physical. The Bears offered him a contract but Howard decided to leave Chicago without signing anything.
A year ago, the Bears were able to bring in top-notch free agents and get them to sign before they left Halas Hall, but after the 2016 season, that’s not the case. Howard is going to weigh all his options and hope a better situation comes along. That’s not to say he won’t sign in Chicago, but if a better team comes along with a similar contract offer, you can bet your bottom dollar that Howard will sign elsewhere.
The Bears are in a waiting game to see where Howard decides to sign, but if he’s healthy and signs in Chicago, he could make a significant impact on the front seven.