Finally, Some D-Line Help! Bears to Sign DE DeMarcus Walker
I was only minutes removed from posting about the Bears missing out on a pair of defensive linemen when news came across the wire of the team making yet another defensive signing.
And, yes, it is finally a defensive lineman.
NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo reports the Bears are signing free agent defensive end DeMarcus Walker:
Garafolo reports it is a two-year deal worth $14 million for Walker, who is coming off a career year in his only season with the Titans. Walker, 28, came up with career bests in sacks (7), total tackles (32), solo tackles (23), tackles-for-loss (10), and quarterback hits (16) in 17 games. To put those numbers into perspective, Walker had 6.5 sacks, 7 tackles-for-loss, and 12 QB Hits in 26 games over the 2020-21 seasons with the Broncos and Texans. Clearly, something clicked for Walker in Nashville. And now, the Bears are betting on that to continue in Chicago.
This fun factoid from PFF’s top free agents guide piques my interest:
Walker set career highs in quarterback pressures (30) and defensive stops (16) in 2021, and he backed that up with 32 quarterback pressures, seven sacks and 21 defensive stops in 2022. He has posted a pressure rate above 10% in back-to-back seasons. A lot of teams could benefit from Walker logging around 400-500 productive snaps off the edge.
Seeing it presented this way makes me think Walker will be part of a timeshare off the edge. Maybe he’ll share time with Trevis Gipson on one side of the defensive line. Or perhaps Walker will split snaps with Dominique Robinson. Maybe there will be a draft pick or another free agent who comes along to be a part of a rotation. The Walker signing isn’t giving off the kind of vibes that suggest he will be getting a full share of the reps at defensive end. But that might not be a bad thing.