The Bears weren’t the first NFL team to sign all their draft picks, but they continue to be front-runners in their efforts to ensure there will be no drama heading into training camp.
Not among the rookies, at least.
Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte still is seeking a long-term deal and isn’t expected to sign his franchise tender any time soon, but the Bears came to terms with their last unsigned draft pick Tuesday.
Safety Brandon Hardin, a third-round pick, got a four-year contract worth $2.7 million, a league source said.
Other teams that have signed all their draft picks include the Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks. The Ravens were the first to sign all their picks, although they didn’t have a first-round selection.
The Bears historically have been one of the more aggressive teams in terms of signing draft picks. Hardin’s deal was a bit more complicated because teams and agents were at odds on several key issues in the third round.
Hardin, the 79th pick overall, played at Oregon State. He’s 6-2 and 222 pounds and started 15 of the 38 games he played for the Beavers, registering 105 tackles (73 solo), three tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, one interception and seven passes defended. He missed the entire 2011 season with a shoulder injury.
Hardin is an imposing athlete and will make an immediate impression on special teams. The Bears, though, are hoping he can develop as a strong safety. It’ll take some time, though, because he played mostly cornerback in college.