The biggest story over the off-season for the Chicago Bears was what the team was going to do to fix their awful defense from the 2013 season. The team made the first step towards fixing that by agreeing to terms on a five-year, $35 million contract with defensive end Lamarr Houston shortly after free agency began according to various reports.
Houston will be just 27 years old this year and had 71 tackles this past season for the Oakland Raiders. He also added a career-high six sacks. The deal however brought a big question on what the Bears planned to do with Julius Peppers. They could have easily paired Peppers and Houston together especially with the team moving Shea McClellan to an linebacker position but it is likely that the Bears released Peppers Tuesday night. That would open it up for Houston to take over Peppers' position on the defensive line for the 2014 season.
Houston was one of the biggest names in free agency this year and the decision by Chicago to make the move this quickly shows how badly they knew they needed help on defense. There are more moves to come obviously but this is a move that should improve the defense to a point where they won’t be allowing their opponents to run all over them like what happened for much of the 2013 season. The Bears were the worst team in the NFL against the run in 2013, giving up over 161 yards per game. The signing of Houston could turn into one where the improved pass rush allows the other interior lineman to focus just on stopping the run instead of rushing the passer as well to put any type of pressure on.
He has played in all 16 years in each of his four seasons in the NFL with 16 career sacks and four forced fumbles. This is a big day for the Bears in free agency and the next question will be what the team decides to do next. Will it be in the secondary? Will Charlie Tillman be back for the 2014 season? This signing shows that the Bears believe they can make a serious Super Bowl run this upcoming year.