2014 NFL Free Agency: Bears add former Packers safety M.D. Jennings on day two

2014 NFL Free Agency: Bears add former Packers safety M.D. Jennings on day two
Tasos Katopodis/for Sun-Times Media

Bears fans better get used to seeing a former Packer donning the orange and blue this upcoming season.

On Wednesday, the Chicago Bears announced the signing of former Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings to a one-year deal.

A day after signing four players on the opening day of free agency in DE Lamarr Houston, LB D.J. Williams, S Ryan Mundy and ST Jordan Senn, the Bears added another piece to their secondary.

Jennings, 25, enters his fourth NFL season after spending his first three with the rival Packers. The Arkansas State product started all 16 games in 2013, making 74 tackles, a sack and returning a fumble for a touchdown.

“Versatility. He [Jennings] is more experienced in terms of the back end than he is in the front end.” Bears general manager Phil Emery said. “He’s a wider play, who has good range and good cover skills. The number of starts and experience that he has and he’s been a good special teams player.”

At 6-foot, 193 lbs, Jennings hasn’t proven to be much more than a safety, who helps in run support. He was said to be a liability in coverage as he was beat often deep. That sounds similar to current Bears safety Chris Conte, which isn’t good.

The Packers chose not to tender the Jennings last month, which placed him into the free-agent pool. Jennings started 10 games in 2012, racking up 52 tackles and one interception. Green Bay gave Jennings a chance to carve out a starting role moving forward, but he failed to impress.

Jennings’ grade by Pro Football Focus was -5.2 for the 2013 season. Quarterbacks posted a passer rating of 148.8 last season. A perfect QB rating is 158.3 to put that into perspective.

In two games against the Bears in 2013, Jennings added 11 tackles, including six in the Week 17 Green Bay win at Soldier Field. He’s started the last 26 games in Green Bay.

Jennings was involved in one of the most controversial calls in NFL history in 2012 on Monday Night Football, when he appeared to intercept Russell Wilson’s Hail Mary pass intended for receiver Golden Tate. Tate then took the ball out of Jennings hands, but the replacement referees ruled that both Tate and Jennings had simultaneous possession of the ball. The touchdown gave Seattle the victory 14-12 over Green Bay.

At this point Jennings is simply a depth signing. He isn’t anything more than a special-teams contributor, who can compete for a spot at free safety. Mundy has a real chance to earn a starting job this season.

The Bears presser with Houston and Mundy is scheduled for 1:30 PM CT. Expect more news from the Bears as free agency progresses this week.


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