Anthony Walker is a familiar free agent Chicago Bears may sign
The Chicago Bears have plenty of cap space, but so many holes to fill as well. One area that will be interesting to see how they add players is linebacker. Yes, Jack Sanborn filled in well, but he is a UDFA rookie who had a small sample size. Even with him starting, Sterling Weatherford, and DeMarquis Gates are the only linebackers currently signed, and both are depth options.
The Chicago Bears will need to sign a starter. They could look to re-sign Nicholas Morrow, but another name to keep an eye on is Anthony Walker Jr.
Will Chicago Bears sign Anthony Walker Jr. in NFL free agency?
Anthony Walker will be an interesting name flying under the radar because he tore his quad after just three games, and missed the rest of the season. Still, we just saw the Chicago Bears take advantage of Morrow playing no games in 2021, then signing him cheap in 2022, and getting a full season. Perhaps the Bears see a discount with Walker now due to injury.
Before the injury, Walker was a stable starter in the middle of the defense. He started for the Cleveland Browns the last two seasons but played four years with the Indianapolis Colts. He was often the sidekick to Shaq Leonard, and he was great at being the stable force in the middle who let Leonard roam and make plays.
The tie to the Indianapolis Colts also firmly puts him on the Chicago Bears’ radar. When Walker was in his second NFL season his defensive coordinator was Matt Eberflus, and his linebackers coach was Dave Borgonzi. Borgonzi is in the same role, and Eberflus is now the Chicago Bears coach.
Anthony Walker played 115 snaps during his rookie season. When Eberflus came in, he gave Walker a much bigger role. During his three years with Eberflus Walker played 824, 811, and 715 snaps. It was obvious that both Eberflus and Borgonzi trusted him.
The Chicago Bears may have had an interest in Walker last season, but they saved about $1.5M by signing Morrow instead. Now that Morrow is healthy and his stock is trending up, and Walker is coming off the injury, their price tags may have flipped.
So, the Chicago Bears can now role with Walker at the same price they rolled with Morrow last season. These two linebackers are the same age, with similar skill sets, and if anything the Bears coaching staff knows Walker more than Morrow at this point.
This would make a lot of sense, and it would save the Chicago Bears money, allowing them to spend big on positions elsewhere. A duo of Anthony Walker and Jack Sanborn could do just fine behind a much improved defensive line.