Bears sign former All-Pro safety to replace Eddie Jackson: Grading the deal

The Chicago Bears have signed a former All-Pro safety to replace Eddie Jackson.

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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The Chicago Bears have moved quickly to replace Eddie Jackson, who they released last week to shed more money off their books. The Bears have plenty of cap space available entering free agency, but they've already reportedly taken care of one of their biggest needs ahead of Monday.

Jackson was a mainstay with the Bears, making two Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team. However, Jackson is also entering his age-31 season, meaning it's the right time for Chicago to move on barring he doesn't buck the trend for players his age.

Jackson should have plenty of suitors in his own right once free agency begins, and he's free to negotiate with any team during the legal tampering period. However, a Windy City return is incredibly unlikely now.

Chicago Bears sign Kevin Byard: Grading the deal

Kevin Byard visited the Bears on Monday and came away with a multiyear deal. Chicago signed Byard to a two-year contract, per Josina Anderson.

As Cem Yolbulan of Da Windy City wrote on Monday, Byard is essentially a one-for-one replacement for Jackson.

"He is not the elite ballhawk he was earlier in his career, but Byard is still a productive backend defender. He rarely misses games, plays every snap, and consistently registers 100+ tackles for a season. The Bears would be hard-pressed to find a better safety in free agency than the 30-year-old veteran."

Byard, much like Jackson, is on the downswing in his career. Don't be surprised if Chicago opts to add more talent to its secondary via the NFL Draft. For now, though, Byard is a fine stopgap at the safety position and provides Chicago more flexibility than Jackson would have.

The 30-year-old was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles prior to last season's deadline. He had just one interception, but is only two years removed from his last All-Pro team selection.

Grade the deal: B-

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