NFL free agency 2020: Bears re-sign LB Danny Trevathan, per report

It was a strong possibility the veteran would be moving on this offseason, but the Bears are keeping him with a three-year extension.

SHARE NFL free agency 2020: Bears re-sign LB Danny Trevathan, per report

Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan is back on a three-year deal.

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The Bears filled one potential vacancy on defense by reaching an agreement to keep linebacker Danny Trevathan with a three-year contract extension, NFL Network reported. The deal includes $14 million guaranteed and could be worth $24 million, per the network.

Trevathan, who turns 30 this month, has been a key player for the Bears since 2016. His future was in doubt, however, after he suffered a dislocated elbow in November. He was the team’s leading tackler at the time.

‘‘He’s such a great leader,’’ general manager Ryan Pace said last month. ‘‘He’s such a good player. Obviously, when he was hurt last year, that hurt our defense for a multitude of reasons. But he’s an important part of what we’re doing.’’

Trevathan was set to hit free agency after playing out a four-year, $28 million contract. The NFL’s legal tampering period begins Monday, and players can sign new deals Wednesday.

The dilemma for the Bears appeared to be whether to re-sign Trevathan or 26-year-old Nick Kwiatkoski. Kwiatkoski is expected to draw a significant market after impressing as Trevathan’s backup the last four seasons. The Bears drafted him in the fourth round in 2016 and developed him into a starting-caliber inside linebacker.

Trevathan had 70 tackles, including two for loss, in nine games last season. Kwiatkoski finished the season with 76 tackles, including eight for loss, in 16 games (eight starts). They played close to the same number of snaps.

It will be the first chance to cash in for Kwiatkoski, who played out his rookie deal at less than $1 million per season.

Locking in Trevathan leaves the Bears with two starting spots to fill on defense. They need a starting cornerback after releasing veteran Prince Amukamara, and they could have a hole at safety if they don’t re-sign Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. They have backups who could move into those positions, namely cornerback Kevin Toliver, but Pace might target an upgrade in free agency.

‘‘There’s some guys there that we like,’’ Pace said of replacing Amukamara and receiver Taylor Gabriel. ‘‘But we’ll explore other avenues to increase competition there, as well.’’

Spotrac calculates the Bears salary-cap space at $24.5 million going into free agency (25th in the NFL), though they could add to that significantly if they make one or two other roster moves. Any cuts, though, would create additional holes to fill, and the Bears already must address concerns at tight end, receiver and on the offensive line.

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