While all the contract extension talk for the Chicago Bears has centered around newly acquired defensive end Montez Ford and cornerback Jaylon Johnson, the team announced a new deal for defensive tackle Andrew Billings on Thursday afternoon.
Billings has been a stable force on the Bears’ defensive line this season. Billings has registered 3 tackles for loss this season and 1 quarterback hit but his presence has been felt in the Bears’ run defense. The Bears’ defense ranks third this season in stopping the run and Billings in the middle of the defensive line is a large part of the reason why.
The Bears have now established some core members of their defense at each level. The Bears now have a defensive tackle in Billings, linebackers in Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards, and a secondary that includes an ascending safety in Jaquan Brisker and a rookie cornerback in Tyrique Stevenson.
The Chicago Bears had a surprise contract extension with defensive tackle Andrew Billings on Thursday.
The foundation is there for the Bears defense but the next step needs to be contract extensions for both Sweat and Johnson.
When Sweat met with reporters on Wednesday, he did not provide any indication that a contract extension with the Bears was in the works. However, Bears’ general manager Ryan Poles did seem to emphasize that Sweat will be with the team beyond this season.
Meanwhile, it has been a tumultuous week for Johnson. While the Bears believed they were close to an extension with their primary cornerback after the weekend, Johnson requested a trade the morning of the NFL Trade Deadline. The Bears, of course, did not trade Johnson and Poles told reporters on Wednesday that the cornerback is in the team’s long-term plans.
Bears fans also may not want to hear this but this week could be taken as a sign that head coach Matt Eberflus will be returning next season. Otherwise, it would seem unlikely that the team would make any commitments on defense beyond this season.