Stephen Paea, DT (Chicago Bears)
6’1”, 300 lbs
2014 statistics: 33 combined tackles, 6 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
2014 cap hit: $1.17 million
Paea was a member of one of the worst defenses in the league, but despite that he was able to make an impact along the defensive line. Paea enjoyed a career year for the Bears, generating 6 sacks and winning at the center of the line with bull rushing.
Even with the Bears struggles, Paea was able to remain effective throughout the year, and had fully developed into a pass rushing fore on defense. Paea’s primary weakness is his inability against the run. While he demonstrated excellent strength on the Bears, he was often out of position. The Bears are switching to a 3-4, so Paea will be schemed out of the defense.
Ndamukong Suh is rightfully the most prominent defensive tackle in free agency (and most prominent player), and other defensive tackles like Terence Knighton, Nick Fairley and Jared Odrick will push Paea to the margins. Adding Paea to a building defense could give a team a central figure to create a pass rush. Surrounded by stronger defensive teammates, Paea may be able to thrive.
2015 Home: Oakland Raiders
With the emergence of Khalil Mack and Sio Moore in Oakland, the Raiders will need to add a disruptive interior force against the passing game.
Next: Cecil Shorts III