One year after depth problems plagued the Chicago Bears throughout the season, GM Ryan Pace did wonders in plugging holes in what was essentially a mea culpa for goofing up the year before.
So, what’s more depth signing for this group?
The #Bears are signing veteran LB Alec Ogletree, source says.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 4, 2021
NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo reports the Bears are signing linebacker Alec Ogletree. In August 2020, the team brought Ogletree in for a visit, but didn’t sign him. I guess they like him a little more now. Or maybe they need him more than they did at this time last year. Whatever the case, there’s a new linebacker in town.
Chicago already brought back Christian Jones to round out the room. But adding Ogletree brings that much more experience, which we shouldn’t ignore.
Ogletree, 29, was a first-round pick by the Rams in 2013. He has 95 games (94 starts) under his belt having stints with the Rams in St. Louis (2013-15) and Los Angeles (2015-17), as well as time spent in New York with the Giants (2018-19) and Jets (2020). The University of Georgia product has 679 total tackles, 44 tackles-for-loss, 7.5 sacks, 12 interceptions, 12 forced fumbles, and 4 pick-sixes to his name. It’s been a pretty solid career for Ogletree, which adds Chicago to his list of stops.
What this means for the Bears’ current linebackers is to be seen. Bringing in Ogletree probably doesn’t push Jones off the roster. Although the addition is noteworthy as it coincides with Jones landing on the COVID-19 list. Perhaps this is a wake-up call for returning young players such as Joel Iyiegbuniwe or Josh Woods. Iyiegbuniwe, a 2018 fourth-round pick out of Western Kentucky, has 47 games of experience on his résumé. However, he has just 49 defensive snaps to his name. Woods, who was part of the same rookie class, was in on 46 defensive plays last season. But has spent far more time on special teams over the last two seasons.
If Jones returns and is healthy, the Bears could be put in a spot to make a decision on two young players who have grown in the system and a veteran newcomer. With that in mind, let’s keep an eye on this situation as it evolves.