Chicago Bears linebacker Matt Adams was arrested Thursday night and charged with misdemeanor illegal gun possession and possessing a high-capacity magazine and metal-piercing bullet, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Adams signed a one-year deal with the Bears during the offseason and will challenge for a starting job in 2022.
Adams played the first four years of his career with the Indianapolis Colts under Bears coach Matt Eberflus. He appeared in 58 games with nine starts for the Colts and totaled 55 tackles. Adams was primarily a special teams player in Indianapolis and will play the SLB role in Eberflus’ 4-3 scheme this year.
“We love Matt’s energy and play style,” said general manager Ryan Poles in April. “We look forward to seeing him compete on special teams, as well as at the linebacker position.”
Matt Adams’ arrest puts his 2022 outlook in question. He’ll appear in court on August 24.
The Chicago Bears didn’t flinch after wide receiver Byron Pringle’s arrest for reckless driving earlier this offseason. Poles remained steadfast in his confidence in Pringle’s character. We’ll see if he applies the same approach to Adams over the next few weeks.
If Adams gets suspended (or worse), the Bears will have players like Joe Thomas, Jack Sanborn, and perhaps Caleb Johnson fighting for a starting job. All three linebackers began their careers as undrafted rookies and are in their first or second seasons.
There’s a chance Adams’ legal issue doesn’t reach a resolution until after the season. If that’s the case, he technically can play the year without incident. But his arrest sheds light on the Chicago Bears’ lack of depth and fragile situation at linebacker.
Starters Roquan Smith and Nicholas Morrow are the headliners and will provide the Bears with a quality tandem. They’ll play the majority of reps, too. Adams, if he emerges as the starter, will likely play less than 20% of the defensive snaps. Eberflus’ defense doesn’t utilize the SLB much. In 2021, Colts starter Zaire Franklin played just 18% of the time.
Still, don’t be surprised if Poles bolsters the linebacker room following Adams’ arrest.
Bryan is the founder and managing editor of Bears Talk. His previous stops include Bears coverage for NBC Sports Chicago and USA Today.