6 free-agent moves from NFC North rivals that should concern Bears fans

Chicago's getting better, but so is the rest of the NFC North.

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans
AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
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Detroit Lions

1. Signing DJ Reader

Admittedly, there are some injury concerns with Reader – he hasn't appeared in 15 games since 2020, and consistently misses between 2-4 games each season. But when he plays, he's still a force to be reckoned with: he finished 2023 as PFF's 11th-best interior defensive line, stacking above-average grades in overall defense, pass rushing, and run stopping. Detroit had one of the worst defenses in football last year, so anything will help. Especially with Reader's contract essentially being a one-year deal for about $11 million, the decision to bring him in makes all the sense in the world. The Lions haven't had quite as flashy an offseason as other teams around the division, but if he stays healthy, Reader's going to be a headache in Chicago, Green Bay, and Minnesota next season.

2. Signing Kevin Zeitler

Losing Jonah Jackson stings a bit, but it wasn't entirely surprising to see the Lions let Jackson walk considering the type of money that Los Angeles was offering him. Bringing in Zeitler – on a one-year deal, no less – was a no-brainer: he's coming off the first Pro Bowl season, and has played in at least 15 games since 2014. He's not the run-blocker that Jackson can be, but his pass-protection was elite last season, which is crucial for an offense that goes as Jared Goff goes.