REPORT: Bears Agree to Deal with Free Agent LB TJ Edwards
It took all of 15 minutes for the Chicago Bears to a handshake deal with a free agent. And while things won’t be officially official until Wednesday at 3 p.m. CT, things are lining up for former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker TJ Edwards to join Chicago’s football team:
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport hears it is a three-year deal for Edwards, a local product (Lake Villa native) and Big Ten product (University of Wisconsin standout) who bolsters a front seven that needs as much help as it can get. And it is a modest one at that. A three-year pact worth $19.5 million that includes $12 million in guarantees isn’t all that constricting. Edwards, 26, was a starter for a Philly team that went to the Super Bowl and ultimately fell short against the Kansas City Chiefs. And he has been someone on our radar for a while.
So this is how free agency begins for the Bears. With GM Ryan Poles making a sensible move to upgrade a position group that needs fresh blood. It is a nice first move, but it won’t be their last.
As a reminder, we had our eyes on Edwards at the end of February:
Edwards, 26, fits that young veteran mold that I think GM Ryan Poles might target this offseason. The University of Wisconsin product was a three-year starter with Philadelphia and is coming off his best season. Edwards, a Lake Villa native, was a starter in all 17 regular-season games the Eagles played this season. And, yes, a starter in the three playoff games they participated in, too. During the regular season, Edwards put up career-bests in total tackles (159), solo tackles (99), and QB Hits (5). Edwards also had 10 tackles-for-loss last season. That is as many as he had in the 28 games he played over the previous two seasons. Soon, Edwards could parlay that into a sizable raise via free agency.
FWIW: Edwards is PFF’s No. 28-ranked free agent on its top 100 list. And I’d like to add how Pro Football Focus projects him to get quite a contract in free agency. PFF predicts a three-year deal with an AAV of $13.5 million, $25 million guaranteed, and worth up to $40.5 million. That might seem like a premium, but the Bears have wiggle room under the cap to make it work. And they have a need to address the position. Plus, Chicago *SHOULD* know what they’re getting in Edwards. Maybe this is where secret weapon Assistant GM Ian Cunningham could come in handy. Cunningham had eyes on Edwards while he was with the Eagles. It sure feels like this is the fit we should be looking at instead of Wagner. At a minimum, I like having worthwhile options to consider for filling the position.