The Bears have two new starting inside linebackers. The team announced it has agreed to a three-year deal with linebacker Jerrell Freeman on Saturday.
Freeman joins Danny Trevathan at inside linebacker in the Bears’ 3-4 defense. Trevathan was the Bears’ first signing in free agency, receiving a four-year, $24.5 million deal. A source confirmed that Freeman’s three-year contract is worth $12 million, including $6 million guaranteed. He can also make $2 million in incentives.
Freeman was a star in the Canadian Football League, before signing with the Colts before the 2012 season. He started 57 games for the Colts over four seasons. He had 112 tackles, three sacks and one interception last season.
With the draft considered thin at inside linebacker, addressing the position in free agency was a priority for the Bears. By the end of the last season, John Timu, an undrafted free agent, was the only inside linebacker playing every down.
The Bears’ depth chart now starts with Trevathan, who turns 26 later this month, and Freeman, who turns 30 in May.
At 6-0 and 240 pounds, Freeman is considered on the smaller side for inside linebackers. But he was very productive for the Colts, recording 478 tackles, 12 sacks, four interceptions and eight forced fumbles over four seasons.
Freeman’s arrival puts Shea McClellin’s future with the Bears in doubt. The Bears have expressed an interest in re-signing McClellin, but the 2012 first-round pick visited the Jets on Friday.
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