The Chicago Bears’ first big signing of the 2023 free agency cycle is former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker, T.J. Edwards. He’ll get a three-year deal worth $19.5 million.
Edwards will take over as the Bears’ starting middle linebacker, a position that 2022 undrafted rookie Jack Sanborn manned for most of last season. Edwards’ addition likely means Sanborn moves to strong-side linebacker, giving Chicago a fantastic one-two punch on the defense’s second level.
Edwards finished the 2022 season with an 81.6 grade from Pro Football Focus, which ranked sixth out of all qualifying linebackers who were scored.
T.J. Edwards’ price tag is a big reason this transaction earns high marks. He’ll make less money over the three years of his contract than former Bears linebacker Roquan Smith will make in one season with the Baltimore Ravens. And the production he’ll provide won’t be far off from what Smith was able to produce with the Bears.
Edwards, 26, started all 17 games for the Eagles in 2022. He totaled 159 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and two sacks. In total, Edwards has 47 starts on his resume and is viewed as a still ascending talent.
Ryan Poles and the Chicago Bears earn an ‘A’ for this signing, partly because it wasn’t a bank-buster for a player whose best football is behind him. Instead, it’s a team-friendly deal for an every-down starter with a good chance of outplaying his deal.
The Bears’ defense improved significantly in one move. And many more are expected over the next few days.