The Chicago Bears and Mario Edwards agreed to a three-year contract Sunday, ahead of NFL free agency beginning this week.
The Chicago Bears re-signed defensive tackle Mario Edwards Sunday, one day before the NFL legal tampering period is set to begin, keeping a key contributor to a dominant defense in place.
Edwards, 27, is coming off the most dominant season of his career, producing a career-high four sacks. According to Pro Football Focus, Edwards added 21 total pressures, including four quarterback hits. PFF gave Edwards an 88.6 overall grade, as the No. 3 ranked interior defender in the league.
The Bears’ defense produced 35 sacks and generated pressure on 22.4 percent of snaps last season. Obviously bringing Edwards back reaffirms the Bears’ belief that he can expand his role and bolster the pass-rush over the next three seasons.
One year after signing Edwards almost immediately after the Saints made him a final roster cut, the Bears made a hefty financial commitment to Edwards. Sunday’s contract comes despite the fact that he still must serve the remaining two games of his suspension for violating the NFL’s Performance Enhancing Drug policy last season.
Last December, Edwards was charged with misdemeanor assault, following an incident involving a woman at the Bears’ team hotel prior to a game in Carolina against the Panthers.
Despite off-the-field concerns, Edwards has proven a valuable piece of the Bears’ defense. It seems that playing along the Bears’ offensive line has brought out the best in Edwards, who spent one season each with the NY Giants and New Orleans Saints where he averaged just 2.5 sacks over that span.