A familiar face is officially back in the fold:
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) April 5, 2019
The Chicago Bears announced they have signed Exclusive Rights Free Agent Rashaad Coward to a deal. Exclusive Rights players are ones who have accrued less than three seasons in the NFL and cannot negotiate or sign with anyone other than their original team. In this case, Coward returns to the Bears for a third season with the team that signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Old Dominion in 2017.
Coward made the transition to an offensive tackle in 2018 after spending the 2017 season on the other side of the line of scrimmage in a role as a reserve nose tackle. He didn’t play in any regular season games last year, but was on the 53-man roster for the entirety of the 2018 season. Coward took plenty of snaps as the second-unit right tackle during the 2018 preseason and figures to get playing time there and possibly at guard in 2019.
The Bears’ collection of reserve offensive linemen will be a position group to watch in 2019. Coward is joined by Bradley Sowell, Ted Larsen, Cornelius Lucas, Willie Beavers and Dejon Allen. Sowell and Larsen have a leg up on the competition seasoned veterans with starting experience across the line. That would leave Coward, Lucas, Beavers, and Allen jockeying for position for one of the final spots on the roster.
As a player with experience on both sides of the line of scrimmage and someone who was hand-picked by this regime as part of the rookie class of 2017, Coward figures to get every opportunity to make the 2019 roster. Just know that the competition will be as stiff as ever once training camp rolls around.