2. Tremaine Edmunds, Linebacker
Ahead of the 2023 season, the Bears made some huge changes to their roster. On offense, they added D.J. Moore as part of their package with the Carolina Panthers, who moved up to the No. 1 overall spot in the draft. On defense, their top addition was Tremaine Edmunds, a former first-round pick for the Buffalo Bills back in 2018.
The Virginia Tech product was an athletic freak who was expected to explode in the NFL and for the most part, he did exactly that. He never recorded fewer than 102 tackles during his five years in Western New York, finishing with 678 tackles, five interceptions, 35 pass defenses and 6.5 sacks. That was enough for Chicago to pay him $72 million over four years.
Statistically, he continued to shine for the Bears with 113 tackles and four picks. However, he had 13 missed tackles and was charged with surrendering three touchdowns in pass coverage on the year by Pro Football Reference. It wasn't his best year at all but there's one major reason to be excited about the future — and that's the new defensive coordinator.
Edmunds should be thrilled about the hire since he knows Washington from their time together in Buffalo. Washington didn't coach Edmunds directly but the linebacker's life was aided by Washington's defensive linemen. Now, Edmunds will hope he helps fix the Bears line, thus freeing him up to make the splash plays we saw in Buffalo.
But this isn't a one-way street at all. Edmunds is going nowhere in 2024 but the Bears could get out of his deal in 2025. That means the pressure will be on for him as well as he looks to improve and win over the new DC.