Linebacker Mason Foster and Bears Finally Reach An Agreement

Linebacker Mason Foster and Bears Finally Reach An Agreement
Mason Foster #59 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs back an interception as EJ Manuel #3 of the Buffalo Bills gives chase during the first quarter at Ralph Wilson Stadium on August 23, 2014 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Mason Foster and the Bears have been linked for over a week now. On Tuesday, the Bears signed the 26-year-old to a one-year deal, according to CSN Chicago’s Jen Lada.

Foster spent his first four seasons in Tampa Bay, where he was originally selected in the third round out of Washington in 2011.

The 6-foot-1, 241-pounder started 54 games mainly at middle linebacker, where he compiled 343 tackles, six sacks, five interceptions, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. He played some snaps at strongside linebacker in 2012.

Although he has had success since entering the NFL, Foster struggled to adapt to Lovie Smith’s defensive scheme as he battled shoulder and Achilles injuries in 2014. He appeared in only 10 games after starting 44 over the previous three seasons.

At 100 percent, Foster is a nice player, who adds a competition at inside linebacker with third-year Florida product Jon Bostic. First-year Bears defensive backs coach Ed Donatell was Foster’s defensive coordinator at the University of Washington.

Foster joins Pernell McPhee as the second linebacker signed by the Bears this off-season.

Defensive ends Jarvis Jenkins and Ray McDonald were also signed on Tuesday, while safety Antrel Rolle who signed earlier in the free agency process represents the fifth new defensive piece.

Foster has had some big seasons thus far. He recorded a career-high 105 tackles in his rookie campaign, while hauling in a career-best three interceptions in 2013.

He graded out in the bottom half of Pro Football Focus’ inside linebacker rankings in 2013. He was expected to be Smith’s new Brian Urlacher in the middle so to speak last season, but injuries and other issues plagued Foster.

Second-year riser Christian Jones, former first-round pick Shea McClellin, third-year disappointment Khaseem Greene and special teamer DeDe Lattimore round out the linebacker depth.

With the additions of Jenkins, McDonald and Foster it not only boosts the Bears’ defense, but it helps Ryan Pace turn his focus to wide receiver or outside linebacker with the No. 7 overall pick.

Cornerback, center, safety, defensive tackle and running back also remain as needs for the Bears.

Pace has been busy Tuesday improving the Bears’ defense, while new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has to be excited about his three new faces for his 3-4 base defense.

Thoughts on the signing of linebacker Mason Foster?

Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button to get all the latest Bears Backer articles sent to your inbox.

Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter, @Bearsbacker and on Facebook for up to the minute news about the Chicago Bears.

Leave a comment