It turns out the Bears’ biggest splash signing of free agency won’t be making it to Chicago after all.
The Athletic’s Adam Jahns reports defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi failed his physical. And thus, isn’t signing deal that was reported to be worth $40.5 million over three years with $26.35 million in guarantees:
The Bears are not signing DT Larry Ogunjobi because of a failed physical.
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) March 18, 2022
NF Network insider Ian Rapoport shares the statement from the Bears as to why this deal is no longer going down:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 18, 2022
Oof. That is a tough break. Not only for the Bears, who were lining things up to have Ogunjobi in the middle of their defense at the three-technique defensive tackle spot. But also for Ogunjobi, who appeared to be on the cusp of getting what I’d consider to be life-changing money on his first major free agent deal.
Earlier in the offseason, new Bears Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams said the three-technique defensive tackle was “one of the staples of the defense.” And with Chicago flipping from a defensive front featuring three defensive linemen to one with four, we need to re-familiarize ourselves with what the three-technique does. Thankfully, Williams said this (via Mayer):
“We want that guy to be athletic. We want that guy to be instinctive. We want that guy to be able to stay on his feet. When he gets a one-on-one, we want that guy to be able to beat his one-on-ones … That guy is one of the staples of the defense because one of the things that I do believe is a good defense is built through the middle, and that’s the middle part of our defense. That guy’s going to be a tremendous part of success of Chicago Bears football and, specifically, Chicago Bears defensive football”
This is what Ogunjobi was supposed to be. At least, this is what the Bears were hoping to get considering what they were set to pay him. Instead, they’ll be looking for that type of talent and production elsewhere.
With the Ogunjobi signing not happening, the Bears go back to having around $30 million in available cap space. There are a ton of free agents worth digging in to should they choose to do so. But they’ll be looking for answers along the defensive line. Ideally, healthy ones. (There are also comp pick implications.)