The Bears sign three of their own free agents in Porter, Rodgers and Becton

The Bears sign three of their own free agents in Porter, Rodgers and Becton
Tracy Porter, Jacquizz Rodgers, and Nick Becton all re-signed with the Bears on Wednesday on the first day of the NFL free agency period.

Three veterans re-signed with the Bears on Wednesday, cornerback Tracy Porter, running back Jacquizz Rodgers and tackle Nick Becton. Porter earned a reported three-year, $12 million deal ($4.25 million guaranteed) while Rodgers and Becton each agreed to one-year pacts. These moves come after the Bears inked linebacker Danny Trevathan and tackle Bobby Massie to contracts earlier in the day.

Porter played last season on a one-year, $870,000 deal after coming to the Bears last June. The move paid off for both him and the Bears as his new deal will pay him $5.5 million annually. He gave the Bears an aggressive attitude as a cover corner opposite second-year man Kyle Fuller. He had a team-high 22 pass breakups along with 35 tackles and an interception.

Turning 29 in August, Porter has an injury past as he’s made it through just one full season (2013) with Oakland, but he added a career-high 67 tackles along with two interceptions that season and could do just that over his next 16 games.

In 14 games in 2015, he made 13 starts which included the final 13 games of the season. Playing in just three games the year prior in Washington, Porter’s hamstring issues began there keeping him out of six games before he was sent to injured reserve in Week 13 with a shoulder injury.

Although he has an injury past, the Bears weren’t afraid to dish out the dough for his services. When he’s healthy he’s a clear fit for Vic Fangio’s defense and the Bears would be smart to bring him back on a short-term extension. He has 11 interceptions and 63 pass deflections in 82 career games playing with New Orleans (2008-11), Denver (2012), Oakland (2013), Washington (2014), Chicago (2015).

He proved he can be a game changer in Week 12, recording a season-high four pass breakups and his lone interception for the year against Green Bay in an upset win on Thanksgiving night. Porter racked up 14 tackles over the last four games of the season.

Porter ranked 39th overall out of 114 cornerbacks by Pro Football Focus a season ago. I love that the Bears rewarded a crafty veteran. The move should pay off. With the best corners already off the market, Porter got a rather nicely sized deal because of his breakout season a year ago. He will be even better this season in Year 2 under Fangio and his staff.

Jacquizz Rodgers provides special teams depth

Scatback Jacquizz Rodgers earned another one-year deal with the Bears in free agency after latching on with the Bears last off-season. He earned $785,000 in 2015 and will make $760,000 on a veteran minimum deal this season. Despite playing only five games before suffering a season-ending arm injury in a Week 5 road win over Kansas City, Rodgers had a nice role carved out as the No. 2 back behind Matt Forte and a key special teamer. The 26-year-old totaled 14 carries for 41 yards (2.9 average) and hauled in a catch for 10 yards.

Rodgers saw more snaps on the third phase (71) than he did on offense (41) in his five games a season ago meaning the Bears really value his talent there. He can return kicks and can help cover them as well. Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey are the top running backs on the roster and now Rodgers returns as the oldest of the trio and most valuable on the third phase. At 5’6″, 199 lbs, he is smaller, but he packs some power.

Nick Becton returns to compete for reserve role

Nick Becton is another 26-year-old who returns on a one-year deal after signing with the Bears last October. The Virginia Tech product played in only one game from 2013-14 between San Diego, the New York Giants and New Orleans before joining the Bears last season. Originally an undrafted free agent, Becton appeared in five games on the active roster for the Bears as a reserve tackle.

He has very little experience but played under general manager Ryan Pace in New Orleans in 2014. He will compete with second-year Tayo Fabuluje expected to compete for the swing tackle role. Clearly, the Bears value his abilities more than initially thought considering he landed a contract on day one of the free agency period.

More news to come as free agency continues.

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