The Chicago Bears have re-signed defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr., per Michael F. Florio of Pro Football Talk. The three-year contract is worth $11.55 million.
Edward’s extension occurred just a few days after Chicago franchise tagged Allen Robinson and re-signed kicker Cairo Santos and punter Pat O’Donnell. It is clear that Chicago wants to keep pieces to the puzzle before the free agency period opens on Wednesday.
Prior to joining the Bears in 2020, he bounced around the league, playing for three teams in five years. However, Edwards stepped up last season, regularly filling in for the injured Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman, who opted out due to COVID-19. The 27-year old proved his worth as a solid depth player on a Bears defensive line that needed it.
The catch with Edwards is discipline issues off of the field. He was charged with assault on a woman in Charlotte before Chicago’s Week 6 game against the Panthers. He is also suspended for Weeks 1 and 2 of next year’s season for violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
It is easy to speculate, but bringing back Edwards could be a sign that the Bears are ready to move on from veteran Akiem Hicks. Hicks is better than Edwards, but he is four years older, injury-prone, and cutting him would save the Bears $10.5 million in an offseason where they are crunched for cash.
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