By Chris Emma–

(670 The Score) The Bears will release linebacker Jerrell Freeman, Pro Football Talk reported.

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Freeman, 31, played in just one game in 2017 and suffered a season-ending pectoral tear on the first play of the season. He was also dealt a second suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, a repeat from a penalty in 2016.

Freeman was signed by the Bears to a three-year, $12-million deal in March 2016, of which $6 million was guaranteed. The team is on the hook for only $500,000 in dead cap with the release of Freeman.

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The Bears were benefited by the emergence of second-year linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski in place of Freeman, who missed 19 games during his two seasons in Chicago. Kwiatkoski projects to start at inside linebacker alongside veteran Danny Trevathan.

Releasing Freeman marks the Bears’ first significant roster move of this offseason. The team could release several other players in the coming weeks to open cap space ahead of free agency.

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Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670 The Score 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670 and like his Facebook page.