According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, after leaving without a deal on Wednesday, the Chicago Bears have officially signed Jaye Howard to a one-year deal. Exact contract terms have not been disclosed yet.
The Kansas City Chiefs, who have a precarious salary cap situation, had released Howard in late April who was one year into a two-year $12 million dollar deal he had signed with them in 2016. He was previously placed on injured reserve in December of last season due to a hip flexor injury.
Kansas City was hoping Howard would find a team before the 2017 NFL Draft so as to not be on the hook for $2.5 million guaranteed, but Howard was seeking every possible best offer. Evidently, that came from the Bears in another “prove-it” deal from general manager Ryan Pace.
Howard, a former fourth-round pick out of Florida, was drafted in 2012 by the Seattle Seahawks. After being cut in 2013, the Chiefs then claimed him off of waivers and steadily introduced him into their lineup more and more before his release this offseason.
What Howard offers is a guy whose a starting level defensive lineman and who has a lot of tread left on the tires.
In his five-year career (four in Kansas City), Howard has 122 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks. He’s known for his superior run-stuffing ability and size at 6-foot-3, 301 pounds. Howard will likely start at the Bears’ opposite five-technique in their 3-4 defense next to last year’s breakout free agent and mammoth defensive lineman, Akiem Hicks.
The Bears needed more depth and talent in their defensive front seven and Howard’s experience and ability in the middle of his prime, offers just that in a highly underrated move.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for the Rock River Times and is a staff writer for Windy City Gridiron.