1. Akiem Hicks
2. Eddie Goldman
3. Jonathan Bullard
4. Jaye Howard
5. Roy Robertson-Harris
6. Mitch Unrein
Notable Cuts- CJ Wilson, John Jenkins
Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman are locks in this category and despite having a disappointing rookie season, it would be hard to imagine the Bears moving on from Jonathan Bullard after just one season. Mitch Unrein is popular amongst the Bears’ defensive coaches and based on the other questions at DE, a steady performer like Unrein is probably worth keeping on the roster.
Howard could be a great addition to this defensive front who was an absolute force for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2015 but injuries derailed his 2016 season. As long as Howard stays healthy, he could be a big contributor up front.
Robertson-Harris was a fan favorite last year, but he missed all of last season. The Bears have plans for him this year, moving him from OLB to DE. He’s gained a reported 20 lbs and could be ready to make an impact this season.
The Bears kept CJ Wilson and brought in John Jenkins to have a reliable NT behind the oft-injured Eddie Goldman, but Howard proved he can sub at NT as he did in 2015 when Dontari Poe was out. His versatility will allow the Bears to move on from Wilson and Jenkins and keep players with higher upside.