The renovation of Chicago's defense continues.
- Remaining free agents
- NFC free agency grades
- AFC free agency grades
- Free agency winners and losers
- Seven riskiest free-agent signings
- Robert Griffin III signs with Cleveland Browns
- Wesseling: Which franchises are on the rise?
- Collateral damage: Players hurt by free agency
- Collateral benefits: Players aided by free agency
The Bears announced Saturday that they have agreed to terms with former Indianapolis Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman on a three-year contract. The new agreement calls for $12 million with $6 million guaranteed and another $2 million available in incentives, reported NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, per a source involved in the deal.
A former CFL star with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Freeman became the first player from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor to play in the NFL when he signed with the Colts as an immediate starter in 2012.
He started 57 games over four years in Indianapolis, peaking in 2015 as the most effective player and second-leading tackler on Chuck Pagano's defense.
Freeman finished the season with Pro Football Focus' top run-defense grade among linebackers.
Chicago defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's linebacker corps figures to be perhaps the league's most improved this season. Edge rusher Pernell McPhee turned in a Pro Bowl-caliber season in his first year with the Bears. The right outside-linebacker duo of Willie Young and Lamarr Houston exceeded expectations last season as well.
General manager Ryan Pace has done a commendable job of overhauling the roster to suit Fangio's 3-4 scheme after years in the 4-3 alignment under Lovie Smith and Mel Tucker.