Bears to Sign Yet Another LB — This Time It is Dylan Cole (UPDATE: It’s Official)
When I saw Dylan Cole’s name pop up as someone who paid a visit to the Bears (via ESPN’s Field Yates), it sparked a thought in me.
I’ll expand on that thought momentarily, after I share NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport’s reporting that Cole is signing with the Bears:
UPDATE — It’s official:
Cole, 28, is entering his seventh season as a pro. And while he wasn’t a primary starter for the Texans (2017-20) or Titans (2021-22), Cole has extensive playing experience. Particularly as a special teams contributor, where he has been in on at least 62 percent of snaps in every year of his career. In 2022, Cole played on a career-most 438 defensive snaps — or 43 percent of plays. To put it in perspective, Cole played a grand total of 517 defensive snaps in the five years prior to the 2022 season. Cole’s playtime increase could’ve been born out of necessity in Tennessee. However, setting a career-high with 64 tackles opens some eyes.
Maybe this is a signing with special teams at top of mind. But perhaps Cole’s defensive experience last season helped nudge the Bears toward prioritizing his signing. After all, spending boatloads of money at linebacker to start free agency was a nice start. But not having useful depth behind that group has sunk teams in the past. So, at a minimum, at least the Bears have usable depth with Cole joining Jack Sanborn behind Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards on the depth chart. My takeaway here is this simple: The Bears saw a special teams contributor who made the most of his newfound playing time. That’s the football version of knocking off two birds with one stone.
As for that thought I was alluding to earlier, I’ve still got it. And here it goes. Not all of the Bears’ signings are going to be splashy. And not all of them will be names that will make you go a-ha! when you see that they are signing. Instead, we’re reaching the point of the offseason when teams target useful depth players. Admittedly, many of those names aren’t going to turn heads. But finding those players helps fill out a roster that reaches 90 players during the offseason. It isn’t the most important thing, but it isn’t insignificant.