By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) Defensive end/tackle Michael Bennett is off the market, having re-signed with Seattle for four years on Monday afternoon. That means as free agency opens Tuesday, the Bears will have to look elsewhere for a pass rusher.
Here’s five defensive ends to keep an eye on who the Bears will be monitoring — and perhaps chasing — on the free agent market.
Michael Johnson – The Bengals’ defensive end is probably the most enticing pass rusher left on the market because of his age (27), and yet he only had 3.5 sacks last season after piling up 11.5 in 2012. The loss of Geno Atkins hurt Johnson, an indication that he needs to be alongside top talent to play up to the contract he’ll probably receive.
Lamarr Houston – The Raiders’ defensive end has 16 sacks in four seasons, including six last season. He hasn’t had much help though, and there’s a hope he’ll blossom in a different situation. STATS credits him with 21 knockdowns and 8.5 hurries in 2013, both decent numbers.
Justin Tuck – Amidst the Giants’ awful season, Tuck actually had a great year with 11 sacks. He also had 25.5 knockdowns and 14.5 hurries, a total that ranks seventh in the NFL. Based on production and reputation, Tuck is the best pass rusher on the market. The problem here is his age. He turns 31 later this month.
Jared Allen – Allen’s situation is a lot like Tuck’s, as he had another productive season in 2013 but turns 32 next month. Allen has posted at least 11 sacks every year since 2007, but he doesn’t fit the Bears’ idea of getting younger. If he’s willing to take a one-year deal, however, you could do a lot worse.
Arthur Jones – Jones seems to be getting a lot of attention, but he only accumulated four sacks in 14 games with the Ravens last season. Even worse, STATS only credits him with seven knockdowns and two hurries, a total that ties for 153rd in the NFL. Scheme fit might also be an issue here for the Bears.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.