The Chicago Bears inked free agent nose tackle John Jenkins to a one-year deal on Friday, adding more depth to Jay Rodgers’ young defensive line. The official terms of the deal have not been yet been reported.
We have signed DL John Jenkins to a one-year contract.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) March 17, 2017
By: Peter Elliott – NFL, MLB, and NCAA writer – @PelliottSports
Welcome to the first ever edition of Bears Bulletin:
After being selected in the third round of the 2013 draft by New Orleans, Jenkins played in 49 games for the Saints and started in 22 of those, as he garnered 113 combined tackles, with 62 if them being solo wrap-ups, as well as collecting one forced fumble, 1.5 sacks, and deflecting two passes. In November of last year, Jenkins was signed by the Seahawks and only played in two games, amassing three assisted tackles.
In Jenkins, the Bears receive a behemoth of a player, who at a 6’3″ and 359 pounds can become a dependable backup behind starting NT Eddie Goldman. Jenkins has never been much of a pass rusher but more of an aggressive run-stopper, and head coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace, who oversaw Jenkins’ development as a member of the Saints front office clearly value that trait.
Chicago had one of the worst run-stopping defenses in the league last season, as they collectively allowed opponents to dash for 1,950 yards, and 4.4 yards a carry which helped amount to 18 touchdowns scored on the ground against them. Third-year Bears D-Line coach Jay Rodgers hopes to boost the Bears out of the basement in that category with the help of Jenkins, a proven run-stopping defensive lineman.
His massive size should not be underrated, as according to NFL.com, Jenkins will become the heaviest man on the team, with his closest competition on the 53-man roster being former Saints teammate Akiem Hicks, and even he is outweighed by roughly 23 pounds.
It’s quite possible that the Bears might have just signed a physically imposing defensive force the Windy City hasn’t seen since William “The Refrigerator” Perry in the 1980s-90s. But even Perry, known for his gargantuan stature doesn’t come close to the size possessed by Jenkins. The only question is: Could we see Jenkins moonlight as a fullback at the goal line like Perry?
• The Bears are looking to reel in another defensive lineman during free agency, as they played host to Ricky Jean Francois on Saturday, who is currently visiting various NFL franchises to find his next home. The 30-year-old veteran is set to visit Seattle today, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
• CBS Chicago’s Greg Gabriel writes that low-profile signings the Bears have been making so far in free agency will give the team more flexibility come draft time in April.
• ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson breaks down what the Bears’ biggest free agency signings, losses, and misfires to date have been, and gives them an all around grade of a C+.
• The Chicago Sun-Times’ Adam Jahns sets some expectations for the Bears’ recent signings out of free agency, and what their roles should look like when the 2017 season rolls around.