Lake Forest, Ill.— The Chicago Bears continued to be active in free agency on Friday afternoon, this time adding to the defensive line. Just moments before the team was set to introduce defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi at Halas Hall, news broke that the Bears were no longer signing the veteran DT due to a failed physical.
Instead, first-year general manager Ryan Poles quickly pivoted, signing two defensive linemen: Justin Jones and Al-Quadin Muhammad, signing both players to two-year deals and continuing to rebuild the Bears’ defensive line, a unit that the Bears hope will be a strength of the roster going into 2022.
Jones, who signed a two-year deal worth $12M total is just 25 years old and has spent the last four seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers. Starting 35 games in that span, Jones has developed a reputation for being an excellent run stopper but can also generate some pressure and collapse the pocket, creating opportunities for players around him.
Muhammad, who is set to turn 27 years old on March 28th, enters his sixth NFL season, with the Bears being his third NFL team. A key piece of the Indianapolis Colts defense since 2018, the former sixth-round pick will reunite with Bears head coach Matt Eberflus in Chicago after starting all 17 games for the Colts in 2021. Muhammad has agreed to a two-year deal worth $10M with an AAV of $5M, meaning the Bears are hoping he can start from day one. After a career-high six sacks, 13 QB hits, and 48 tackles with the Colts in 2021, the Bears are hoping Muhammad’s production can translate into a strong 2022 season.
Signing both players is about rebuilding a defensive line that’s lots Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, and Bilal Nichols this offseason. As Chicago continues to reshape its defensive line to fit the 4-3 defense that Eberflus hopes to run, adding Jones and Muhammad is about making that transition easier for the Bears for the next few years.