The Bears are bringing the defensive band back together, at least for one more season. Chicago has officially signed nickel cornerback Bryce Callahan to his restricted free agent original round tender, bringing him back into the fold on a one-year deal valued at $1.323 million.
His original round tender opened him up to leaving the Bears without any compensation coming back, but ultimately Callahan didn’t sign any deal of consequence. The only real reported interested came from the divisional rival Vikings with no offer sheet of note.
Callahan, 26, appeared in 12 games last season, starting in six. The now fourth-year pro had injury issues to start his career, but has since stabilized as the Bears’ starting nickel back. In a defense that is rarely in base formations, he’s an integral piece of what the team attempts to accomplish defensively.
2017 was by far Callahan’s NFL best with 20 tackles, six passes defensed, two interceptions, one forced fumble, and a punt return touchdown on the old Johnny Knox slash Dave Toub special. A season where he came into his own.
The old, Devin Hester, Johnny Knox decoy punt return. Dave Toub would be proud. Cohen decoy, Bryce Callahan punt return touchdown. pic.twitter.com/M1kU9ZloFx— Kevin Marchina (@kg_holler) December 31, 2017
It’ll be interesting to see how Callahan slots in over the rest of the off-season considering the lack of urgency the Bears showed in re-signing him. He’s either a semi-regular starter once again, or a proven smaller corner locked into a soon-to-follow positional competition.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for The Rock River Times, an editor for Windy City Gridiron and Inside The Pylon, and is a contributor to Pro Football Weekly and The Athletic Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.