The Chicago Bears need to sign one of these two players on defense

Every offseason the better teams in the NFL look to sure up their defensive line. The battle starts in the trenches, and with defensive interior being a need for the Chicago Bears, they need to make a move. A couple of good veteran options stand out as strong fits.

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At the time of writing this article, names like Jonathon Greenard, Z'Darious Smith, Brian Burns, Christian Wilkins, and Chris Jones are already off of the market. Teams have been salivating at the idea of making moves with how much talent there is on the defensive line in free agency. The Chicago Bears need to make their move. With holes at edge and defensive interior, there are two solid candidates that stand out as great fits for the Bears.

Player One: Arik Armstead

Arik Armstead has been one of the better interior pass rushers throughout his entire career with the San Francisco 49ers. He was rewarded with a 5-year, $85 million deal in 2020, but with a cap hit of $17.41 million that Armstead refused to restructure going into next year, the 49ers plan on releasing him. He has been a productive player over his nine years in the NFL and is a veteran with playoff and Super Bowl experience who still has something left.

Armstead had five sacks, four tackles for loss, and thirteen quarterback hits in twelve games this past season, and was a steady contributor against the run up the middle. While he has not been the same player from 2019-2020 when he recorded double-digit sacks, he still is a strong presence up the middle and can play multiple positions on the line. He would be a great piece to mentor Gervon Dexter Sr. who looks to make a jump next year.

Armstead is 30 right now, which normally has been a turnoff for Ryan Poles when building this defense. Yet, with the signing of Kevin Byard, he has shown that he thinks veteran defenders are what this team needs in order to become an elite group, and on a short-term deal for maybe two or three years, Armstead could be the missing piece. The Bears will have to monitor if the 49ers plan to wait until after June 1 in order to save more cap space.

Player Two: DJ Reader

DJ Reader has quietly been one of the most consistent defensive linemen in the NFL over the last few years. After a handful of good seasons in Houston, the Cincinnati Bengals made him the highest-paid nose tackle in the league with a 4-year, $53 million deal. Now that he is set to hit free agency, Spotrac estimates his value around $45 million over three years. Grover Steward just signed back to the Colts for 3-years, $39 million, and Reader is slightly above Stewart at their position.

Reader is coming off a torn quadricep injury this past season and will be 30 in July. Like Armstead, this is likely the last major deal he can strike, so he will be looking to cash in after four productive years in Cincy. He too fits the scheme in a 4-3 defense as a nose tackle, although Armstead is more of a pass rusher than Reader is.

Reader has been more of a run-stuffing defensive tackle in his career, which could be useful next to Gervon Dexter. He brings more pass rush than Andrew Billings does, so adding Reader to that group would give the Bears a solid balance of pass rush and run defense in the middle. Where he is at in his recovery will be the biggest concern with Reader.

The Chicago Bears need to sure up their defensive interior, and the market is quickly drying up. Either Chris Jones or Christian Wilkins would have been the big splash option, but names like Arik Armstead and DJ Reader are potentially cheaper options who could still provide the Bears with what they are missing in the trenches.

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