The Chicago Bears opted not to bolster their defensive unit with a trade this past week as the trade deadline expired, but that did not stop the team from improving their defensive line over the weekend.
On Saturday, it was reported that the Bears had come to terms on a one-year contract with free agent defensive tackle Jay Ratliff.
Former Cowboys DT Jay Ratliff has agreed to 1-year contract to join Bears. Will play against Cowboys later this month
— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) November 2, 2013
Ratliff was released by the Dallas Cowboys in mid-October. There is definitely a story there. Ratliff strained his hamstring during the early portions of training camp for the Cowboys. Ratliff’s agent, Mark Slough, also claimed that Ratliff was dealing with complications from sports hernia surgery he had in December. Slough went on to say that the doctors performing the surgery advised Ratliff that the recovery would take one year.
Knowing this, the Cowboys opted not to place Ratliff on the injured reserve list with the hope of Ratliff making a return late in the season for a possible playoff push. Instead, Ratliff was placed on the physically unable to perform list. That is when the relationship between Ratliff and the Cowboys became strained. Ratliff was eligible to come off the PUP list in October and that is when the team opted to release the four-time pro bowler.
In his 9 seasons with the Cowboys, Ratliff has recorded 27 sacks. Ratliff made the pro-b0wl for the Cowboys for four consecutive seasons between 2008-2011. The concern is that in each of his past three seasons, Ratliff’s sack totals have declined. Ratliff went from having 6 sacks with the Cowboys in 2009 to 0 sacks in 2012. Granted, Ratliff only played in six games with the Cowboys in 2012.
The expectation is that Ratliff won’t be ready to play for at least another couple of weeks. But, if healthy, Ratliff could certainly bolster the Bears defensive line. A defensive line that has a combined 3 sacks on the season. In order for the move to be a productive one, all Ratliff has to do is be a shell of his former self. That would be better than anything the Bears have had on their defensive line this season. But first thing’s first, Ratliff needs to be on the field.