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Free Agent Breakdown: Bears Sign DE Lamarr Houston

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Defensive end Lamarr Houston. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Defensive end Lamarr Houston. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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By Adam Hoge-

What happened: The Bears signed former Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston, 26, to a five-year deal. Houston had a career-high six sacks last season, but also added 21 knockdowns and 8.5 hurries, both solid numbers.

How it affects the Bears’ salary cap: Houston’s deal is worth $35 million over five years, although only $15 million is guaranteed. The Bears later released Julius Peppers, freeing up $9.8 million in cap space.

How Houston fits the system: Houston is strong against the run and while his sack numbers could certainly better, he was a Top 25 pass rusher in terms of disruptions. He also didn’t have much help in Oakland. Houston comes from a 30-front defense, which aids the Bears’ new idea of being scheme versatile. Houston is very durable, having not missed a single game during his four year career.

What’s ahead: The Bears need another starting defensive end after the release of Julius Peppers. Help will likely be sought through both free agency and the draft.

How this affects the Bears’ NFL Draft plan: The Bears could still draft any position on defense, although this signing might shift the focus to defensive tackle, corner or safety.

Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.

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