EDITOR: He’s already been released... (link)
Pinckney, who turns 23 later this month, spent most of 2020 on the Patriots’ practice squad. He was suspended for six games late in November and upon being reinstated signed a futures deal with the team after the season. New England waived him on Mar. 23.
A four-year starter at the University of Miami, Pinckney was incredibly productive at the collegiate level. He finished his time with the Hurricanes with 267 total tackles, 42 tackles for a loss and 14.5 sacks. Known as a downhill thumper with a good feel for the game and a willingness to lower his shoulder on an opponent, Pinckney served as an enforcer of sorts for Miami’s defense.
The Bears brought back veteran Christian Jones after three seasons apart to add to their linebacker room, but it’s clear they want to continue and look for depth at the position. Outside of Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan, they looked thin at linebacker in 2020 and were exposed when the former was unable to play in Chicago’s lone playoff game.
Though Pinckney faces the likes of Jones, Joel Iyiegbuniwe and Josh Woods as competition, he is a reliable tackler who offers value on special teams. He may not have the athletic ability of a Woods or Iyiegbuniwe, but if the Bears want a better fit at the MIKE linebacker position, the former Miami standout could be kept around in at least a practice squad role.