In a somewhat surprising move, Chicago Bears starting defensive end Mitch Unrein was not retained. Instead, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times has reported that Unrein will instead sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The contract is a 3-year deal worth $10.5 million, with $4 million guaranteed.
Unrein was brought to Chicago in 2015 in an effort to beef up a defensive line in transition. With the Bears, he appeared in a total of 39 games, starting in 21 of those games. His most productive season was 2017, where he recorded 32 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He will now reportedly play defensive tackle for the Buccaneers in their base 4-3 front.
His departure means a couple of things for the Bears. First, and foremost, this presents an opportunity for players like Jonathan Bullard and Roy Robertson-Harris to potentially compete for a starting job on the Bears’ base 3-4 front. They will also likely be in the market for veteran depth in free agency.
In all, do not be surprised if Ryan Pace elects to target a few defensive linemen in the 2nd and 3rd tier of free agency, if not the draft.