Harold Jones-Quartey has played in 29 games for the Beloved, starting in 16 of them. In that time he’s had a pair of interceptions, forced a fumble, and has deflected another 7 passes. That actually means that of safeties who were with the Bears last year, he was the most productive at turnovers and in pass defense. He was also the second-leading tackler on the team for 2016, behind only Jerrell Freeman.
Per Pro Football Reference, he played in more than two-thirds of the defensive snaps for the Bears last year (fifth among all Bears defenders), and he also was on the field for about a quarter of the special teams plays. All things considered, he’s done well for an undrafted free agent out of the University of Findlay.
Age: 23 (24 by the start of the season)
Experience: Third season
Contract and salary cap:
Per Spotrac, Jones-Quartey is in the third year of a three-year, $1.575 million. His cap hit and base salary for 2017 will be $615,000, and there is no penalty for cutting him.
Reason for improvement in 2017
Jones-Quartey thrived when he was given the chance. Technically a strong safety, HJQ actually did a little bit of everything, and he showed both tenacity and instincts. Being able to get nearly a full season as a starter in 2016 has to have helped his development as a player, and while he lacks the length that Ryan Pace seems to covet in players, he has all of the tools he needs.
Reason for regression in 2017
With just one truly solid year to go on, Jones-Quartey could struggle to find his place. He is (at best) the third safety on the roster after free agent acquisition Quintin Demps and 2017 draft selection Eddie Jackson. This means he will struggle for playing time and for practice reps, and he could need an injury in front of him to get on the field regularly unless it’s on special teams.
Final roster odds
By most reasonable measures, HJQ should make the roster as a backup, providing quality depth, if nothing else. He has proven himself to be an adequate role-player with at least a modicum of instinct for the ball. Unfortunately for him, the Bears have a lot of “might be good” at safety, and they invested in the position this offseason both during free agency and in the draft. Deon Bush, Adrian Amos, and (especially) Eddie Jackson all represent draft capital Pace has invested in the position. Additionally, the acquisition of Quintin Demps has to push Jones-Quartey down (if not off) the depth chart. He should have at least a 75 percent hance of making it, though, given that last year the Bears carried six safeties at the start of the season.