Burns, who turns 25 in May, was the No. 25 overall pick in the 2016 draft. He had plenty of momentum heading into the draft, having snagged 6 interceptions in his final year at the University of Miami and running a 4.46 40-yard dash at 6-foot and 193 pounds at that year’s Scouting Combine.
His NFL career started off promising enough, as he tallied 3 interceptions and 13 pass breakups in his rookie year. He took on a full-time starting role the following year and failed to take the next step, only intercepting one pass. He would not intercept another pass in his remaining two seasons with the team. The Steelers took him out of the starting lineup the following year, and he has started in just 7 games over the past two seasons, including only one start this past year. Pittsburgh declined his fifth-year option in May of last year.
While Burns struggled with awareness and decision making during his time with Pittsburgh, he is still a very young player by free agency standards and has some physical upside left to tap into. Chicago will hope that he can rejuvenate his career with the team and serve as a cheap option in the secondary.
With Prince Amukamara having been released to free up cap space, the Bears have a need at cornerback alongside Kyle Fuller. Burns will join the likes of Kevin Toliver and CFL signee Tre Roberson as players to compete for the starting boundary cornerback position.