NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jay Ratliff agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Bears on Saturday, according to a person informed of the deal. The Bears officially announced the move later Saturday, and Ratliff will sign his contract next week, Rapoport added.
Rapoport reports that Ratliff still is maybe two to four weeks away from being able to play. The Bears, however, have a huge need at defensive tackle after losing Henry Melton and Nate Collins to season-ending injuries.
Ratliff visited the Bears, Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins this week. The Cincinnati Bengals also made inquiries after a season-ending injury to Geno Atkins.
The Bears made the most sense for Ratliff of the teams he visited, as he should have a chance start when healthy. In Kansas City or Miami, he likely would have been a rotational player.
Ratliff, 32, was released by the Cowboys earlier this month with a failed physical tag because of his lingering hamstring injury.
The 2009 All-Pro hasn't played in one game since last season, but his agent, Matt Slough, told Rapoport in October that the interior lineman is "medically cleared to return to all football activities without limitation."
The Bears sit just outside of the playoff race and are trying to stay in contention while they wait for the return of injured quarterback Jay Cutler and linebacker Lance Briggs.
Ratliff's addition is a baby step toward saving the Bears' playoff hopes, if they can stay afloat with backup quarterback Josh McCown and a patchwork defense.