Chicago Bears address linebacker corps on Day 1 of free agency

Chicago Bears-Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears-Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports / Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
2 of 3
Chicago Bears, Jack Sanborn
Chicago Bears, Jack Sanborn / Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

New LB corps shaped by Chicago Bears history and Roquan Smith trade

It is going to be incredibly hard to not compare this new linebacking corps. to a similar group from a decade or two ago (see below), but nonetheless, expectations for this defense next season should be much higher than they were heading into last season, even with Bears linebacker Roquan Smith.

Roquan Smith's situation, and the failure to resign the player last season, is inevitably a factor in this conversation, as it seems that the money paid to Edmunds could have potentially been allocated to Smith last season, but it is important to fully understand how that situation impacts this one. Between Edwards and Edmunds, the Bears are paying roughly $25 million annually to these two players, while Smith demanded a $20 million annual contract just this offseason.

In addition to being able to afford two great, young linebackers, the Chicago Bears also acquired a second and fifth-round draft selection this year, giving the team more draft capital to address other areas of concern across the roster. Overall, it seems that Ryan Poles and the Bears made the right decisions over the past 12 or so months to build a great linebacking core in Chicago.

Statistically, Edwards and Edmunds have had very successful NFL careers, with no indication of any soon regression. Just last season, the two players combined for over 260 total tackles and 14 pass deflections, and while that might not translate to how they play side by side in the following seasons, it is a good indicator as to how involved both these players have been at the second level.