By Dan Durkin-
What happened: The Bears signed inside linebacker Mason Foster to a one-year deal, they announced Wednesday afternoon.READ MORE: Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman Has 'Stepped Aside' Following Independent Probe Into 2010 Sexual Assault Claim Against Former Coach
How it affects the Bears’ salary cap: Terms of the deal have yet to be released for Foster. Prior to signing defensive ends Jarvis Jenkins and Ray McDonald on Tuesday, Chicago had about $14.9 million in cap space.
Player bio bits: The 26-year old Foster is entering his fifth NFL season. The University of Washington product was selected in the third round of the 2011 draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s made 54 NFL starts, over which he’s compiled 243 tackles, six sacks, five interceptions (two returned for touchdowns) and two forced fumbles.READ MORE: FDA Advisers Back Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine For Kids 5 To 11 Years Old
How Foster fits the system: Foster immediately goes to the top of the Bears’ depth chart at the Mike linebacker spot in their new 3-4 defense. In Vic Fangio’s scheme, the primary difference between the Mike (strong-side) and Jack (weak-side) inside linebackers is their alignment. The Mike is set to the offense’s strength, while the Jack lines up to the open side of a formation.
Lovie Smith brought his Tampa-2 principles with him to Tampa Bay last season, which requires the Mike linebacker to carry receivers up the vertical seam, a role for which Foster was miscast. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Foster has scheme versatility but is well-suited inside in a 30-front, where he can utilize his read-and-react skills to aggressively attack the run downhill.MORE NEWS: Chicago Hauntings: Tales Of Of Our City's Ghosts
Dan Durkin covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.