Contract: Five years, $35 million
The Chicago Bears came into the offseason looking to revamp their defensive line, and they were able to take a big step forward by signing former Oakland Raider Lamarr Houston. Houston practically replaced former superstar Julius Peppers, and there is a lot of reason for Bears fans to be excited about this signing. While he may not be as prolific of a pass rusher as Peppers used to be, he is still very solid in his own right. Perhaps the best part of Houston’s game is his ability to play against the run at a high level as well.
Houston played in all 16 regular season games last season with the Oakland Raiders, and put together a good statistical season. He recorded 69 tackles, two forced fumbles, and 6.0 sacks in those appearances. At 6’3 and 300 pounds, he is a physical beast on the defensive line, and the Bears are going to reap the benefits of his ability,
Granted, his signing alone will not fix the defensive issues that Chicago had last season, but it certainly does help them move forward. He’s one of those players that will be able to play at the same high level that he did in Oakland even with a change of scenery, and his heart will win fans over as well.
It is possible that the Chicago Bears paid a bit too much for a defensive end that has only recorded 16.5 career sacks, but the Bears believe that he will improve his game this offseason. He will have every opportunity to prove himself over the next few seasons, and Chicago appears to have gotten a future cornerstone of their defense. At just 26 years old, Houston will be a key for them for hopefully his entire five-year contract.
Many analysts had Houston ranked as the second-best defensive end that has been signed this offseason, behind DeMarcus Ware who signed with the Denver Broncos. The Bears were in desperate need of defensive end help, so this is obviously a huge addition for them. It will be very interesting to see what kind of numbers he is able to put up in Chicago.