ESPN is issuing grades for this year’s flurry of free agent signings, and linebacker TJ Edwards stood out at the top of the Chicago Bears’ class so far.
The signing earned an A from ESPN.
“This is a steal for a highly productive off-ball linebacker in the prime of his career,” ESPN’s Seth Walder wrote. “The 26-year-old Edwards’ numbers were excellent across the board for the Eagles last season, as he allowed 0.6 yards per coverage snap, the eighth-best mark among linebackers with at least 250 coverage snaps, per NFL Next Gen Stats. He also ranked seventh in run stop win rate among linebackers and had a strong 38% pass rush win rate in a small sample.”
The Chicago Bears’ decision to sign Edwards has been universally praised as a good, if not great, move.
Beyond just TJ Edwards’ high level of play on the field, his team-friendly contract — three years, $19.5 million — helps offset the bigger investment GM Ryan Poles made in linebacker Tremain Edmunds. Indeed, Edmunds’ upside as a cornerstone game-changing presence on the Bears’ defense is much higher, but dollars have to make sense too. Edwards’ contract does.
Edwards and Edmunds will form one of the better linebacker duos in the NFL in 2023 and help Chicago’s defense take a big step forward against the run. Edwards had a career-high 159 tackles in 2022, including 10 tackles for loss.