CHICAGO — The Chicago Bears didn’t get the first pick of quarterbacks this offseason but did get the player they probably have the most experience with in Nick Foles. And with uncertainty about offseason programs and when — or if — training camps will open, that’s a plus.
Add the fact Foles, who helped guide the Eagles to a Super Bowl LII championship, is a proven postseason performer, it’s another bonus for Bears general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy, who were seeking — at the minimum — competition for starter Mitch Trubisky.
The Bears acquired Foles on Wednesday in a trade with the Jaguars, who gave up on him less than a year after signing him to a four-year, $88 million contract in free agency last March. According to ESPN, the Bears are trading their compensatory pick at the end of Round 4 (No. 140 overall) to the Jaguars.
Foles, the Super Bowl LII MVP, suffered a broken left clavicle in the 2019 season opener and lost his starting spot to Gardner Minshew, a sixth-round rookie from Washington State. This will be Foles’ fifth team.
Foles, 31, worked with Nagy in Philadelphia as a rookie in 2012 and then again in Kansas City in 2016. New quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo was the offensive coordinator for the Jaguars last season and was the Eagles quarterbacks coach when Foles had his magical postseason run.
ESPN reported the Bears were able to rework Foles’ contract shortly after finalizing the trade. What doesn’t change is that he has $20.125 million remaining in guaranteed money. What’s likely is the Bears were able to lower his salary cap number, which was to be $15.5 million for 2020, shifting some of it to 2021.
The Jaguars, meanwhile, wound up paying Foles $30 million for all of four starts, making it one of the worst free-agent contracts in recent history.
Steelers unite Watts
Pittsburgh turned the opening day of free agency into a family reunion for the Watt family.
The team agreed to terms with fullback Derek Watt on a three-year contract worth $9.75 million, luring him from the Los Angeles Chargers to Pittsburgh to join All-Pro younger brother T.J. Watt, who recorded 14 1/2 sacks from his spot at outside linebacker in 2019.
Derek Watt, 27, spent four seasons with the Chargers, primarily as a special teams ace. He has 29 career touches for 201 yards and a touchdown as well as 35 tackles.
The Steelers also tendered contract offers to restricted free agents Matt Feiler and Mike Hilton. Feiler has started 26 games over the last two seasons and spent 2019 at right tackle for Pittsburgh in 2019.
Chargers add CB Harris
Keenan Allen and Chris Harris Jr. have clashed often when sharing the same football field.
Through the magic of free agency, the two will now have to peacefully coexist in the same locker room.
The Chargers agreed to terms with the accomplished slot cornerback, an All-Pro in 2016 and Pro Bowler four times. He brings another top-level defender in a secondary that includes cornerback Casey Hayward.
Harris, 30, has 20 career interceptions and 518 combined tackles in a career that began when he signed with Denver as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He spent nine years with the Broncos.
Falcons ink Fowler
Atlanta addressed its need for pass-rushing help by agreeing to a three-year, $48 million deal with Dante Fowler, according to the NFL Network.
Fowler had 11.5 sacks with the Los Angeles Rams last season.
Panthers: Carolina has released Eric Reid just 13 months after giving the veteran safety a three-year, $22 million contract extension.
Panthers general manager Marty Hurney gave Reid a new contract in February of 2019 that included a $9 million signing bonus. The decision to release Reid means the Panthers will be on the hook for $5 million in dead money.
The team re-signed safety Tre Boston to a three-year, $18 million contract on Tuesday. They also agreed to terms with free agent safety Juston Burris from the Browns earlier this week.
The 28-year-old Reid started 29 games over the past two seasons for the Panthers and had 201 tackles, five sacks and one interception.
Raiders: Oakland agreed to terms with cornerback Eli Apple, according to a team source.
Apple is the sixth player to be added to the Raiders’ defense during the free agent negotiating period, joining linebackers Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski, defensive tackle Maliek Collins, defensive end Carl Nassib and safety Jeff Heath.
The five-year veteran turns 25 in August and has played in 55 games with 48 starts for the New York Giants (2016-18) and New Orleans Saints (2018-19). A first-round draft pick out of Ohio State, Apple played in 25 games, all starts, with the Saints the past two years.
Apple has three career interceptions and 33 passes defensed. Contract terms were unavailable.
Jets: Trumaine Johnson’s stint with New York is over after two disappointing and injury-plagued seasons.
Johnson was the team’s biggest free agent signing in 2018, when it gave him a five-year, $72.5 million contract that included $34 million in guaranteed money. Johnson played in only 17 games with the Jets, starting 15, and never lived up to expectations.
While they cut ties with Johnson, the Jets are bringing back cornerback Brian Poole by re-signing him to a one-year, $5 million fully guaranteed contract, agent Drew Rosenhaus told The Associated Press.
Seahawks: Seattle is bringing back former first-round pick Bruce Irvin, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. NFL Network first reported the reunion.
Irvin will be a boost to Seattle’s pass rush that needed attention. He had a career-high 8½ sacks and 16 quarterback hits last season in just 13 games during his one year with Carolina. Both those totals would have led Seattle.
Cowboys: Dallas struck a three-year, $20 million deal with veteran defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. The move will allow the Cowboys to boost a shorthanded defense with a 10-year veteran and proven playmaker.
The former Oklahoma star confirmed the deal with ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
McCoy is a six-time Pro Bowler who spent the first nine years of his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before playing the 2019 season with the Carolina Panthers.
McCoy has 59.5 sacks and 86 tackles for loss in his career, including five sacks, seven tackles for loss and 13 quarterback hits last season. McCoy has just missed eight games in the past eight seasons combined.
Also Wednesday, Dallas signed veteran CB Maurice Canady (Varina, UVA). Canady played in 13 games last season between the Ravens and Jets.
Ravens: Baltimore bolstered its defense and improved its draft position at the outset of free agency. The addition of 6-foot-8 defensive end Calais Campbell and the acquisition of 6-5 free agent defensive tackle Michael Brockers should improve a unit that last year had difficulty against the run and was pressed to sack the quarterback.
Citing a directive from the NFL, the Ravens declined to confirm the trade with Jacksonville that landed Campbell, and did not acknowledge the three-year deal provided to Brockers, an eight-year veteran who had a career-high 63 tackles with the Los Angeles Rams last season.
Rams: Los Angeles agreed to terms with linebacker Leonard Floyd. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but it reportedly is a one-year deal worth up to $13 million.
Floyd, 27, was released Tuesday by the Chicago Bears, who selected him with the ninth pick in the 2016 draft after he played in college at Georgia. New Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley coached Floyd with the Bears. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Floyd had seven sacks as a rookie, but never more than 4 1/2 in the next three seasons. In 2019, he had three sacks. The Bears cut him to avoid a $13.2 million guarantee.
Bengals: Cincinnati released right guard John Miller in its latest move to overhaul an offensive line that’s been a critical weakness the past two years.
The move came five days after the Bengals released left tackle Cordy Glenn, who missed 10 games last season with a concussion and a team suspension.
Miller signed as a free agent last year and started 13 games at right guard, part of a line that struggled to protect Andy Dalton and open holes for the running game. Cincinnati’s offense has ranked at or near the bottom of the league each of the past three seasons.
The Bengals also released B.W. Webb as part of a cornerback shuffle. They’re expected to sign former Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes. Webb was one of Cincinnati’s notable free agent acquisitions last year, getting a three-year deal. He was limited by an arm injury, started 12 games and had one interception.
Dolphins: Miami added center Ted Karras, who agreed to a $4 million, one-year contract, a person familiar with the deal said.
49ers: San Francisco will bring back interior offensive lineman Ben Garland on a one-year contract, a league source confirmed to The Bee.
Garland, who turns 32 next month, started at center for the final three games of the regular season and the playoffs in place of starter Weston Richburg, who tore his patellar tendon in his knee in early December. NFL Network reported Garland’s deal is worth $2.25 million.
Garland played under 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan when he joined the Atlanta Falcons in September 2015 after beginning his career as an undrafted free agent with the Denver Broncos in 2012. He played at the Air Force Academy.
Lions: Add a couple more names to the parade of ex-Patriots joining the Detroit Lions. Detroit agreed to a two-year, $8 million deal with defensive tackle Danny Shelton, Rosenhaus confirmed. Shelton started 14 games last season for New England.
The Patriots also agreed to trade safety Duron Harmon to the Lions, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
The Lions have reportedly agreed to deals with offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, linebacker Jamie Collins, defensive tackle Nick Williams and backup quarterback Chase Daniel. Collins played last season with the Patriots and was also with New England from 2013-16.
Vikings: Minnesota is bringing quarterback Sean Mannion back for another season.
The Vikings will sign Mannion, Kirk Cousins’ primary backup last season, to a new one-year deal, according to a league source.
The team also announced that it was terminating the contract of guard Josh Kline, who was signed to a three-year, $15.5 million contract as a free agent last March.
Kline has $1.8 million guaranteed as part of his $4.45 million base salary in 2020.