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Mason Foster agrees to terms with Chicago Bears

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Mason Foster, one of the best inside linebackers available on the free-agent market this offseason, has agreed to terms with the Bears, the player's agent told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport on Tuesday.

CSN Chicago first reported the news.

The 26-year-old didn't fit in Lovie Smith's defense, a common refrain we're hearing out of Tampa Bay these days. That led Foster to his new digs, a place Smith knows quite well.

Coach John Fox should find some room for a linebacker who hasn't missed significant time throughout his career, playing in 57 of a possible 64 starts since entering the league in 2011.

His ability to defend the pass -- Foster has five picks over the last four years, including two returned for touchdowns -- should also help add some much-needed range and versatility to a dusty Bears front seven.

Foster's signing means the 49ers will miss out on another linebacker target. San Francisco was also pursuing the former third-round pick in the wake of two stunning retirements by Chris Borland and Patrick Willis.

Where does that leave their talks with Brandon Spikes, Lance Briggs and Erin Henderson? Expect things to heat up soon.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps the inaugural Veteran Combine and discusses which star players were helped (and hurt) by free agency. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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