The Chicago Bears signed a promising young linebacker last off-season. On Wednesday, second-year general manager Ryan Pace did more of the same by agreeing to terms with Denver Broncos’ free agent linebacker Danny Trevathan.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the deal shortly after free agency officially opened up at 3 p.m. CT/4 p.m. ET. It is a reported four-year, $24.5 million deal including $12 million in guaranteed money, per Schefter.
Trevathan, an inside linebacker turns 26 on March 24 and is in the prime of his career. His addition brings instant credibility to the Bears’ linebacking core. After shuffling around Shea McClellin, Christian Jones, John Timu, Jonathan Anderson and even career special teamer LaRoy Reynolds (one start) at the two inside backer positions, Trevathan comes to town with plenty of experience and a lot of pure talent.
At 6’1″, 240 lbs, Trevathan is a bit undersized, but he makes up for that lack of size with impressive speed, smart play in gap control and a knack of making a big play in both the run and passing aspect defensively. The sixth-rounder from Kentucky is the third Denver player from the 2012 draft class (Brock Osweiler, Malik Jackson) to sign free agent deals thus far.
Leaving a champion for a team in transition like the Bears may seem odd at first glance, but Trevathan has a true bond with head coach John Fox, his teacher from 2012-14 in Denver. Fox gave Trevathan his first crack at the starting gig in 2013, starting all 16 games, recording 129 tackles, 10 pass breakups, three interceptions, three forced fumbles, two sacks and a fumble recovery.
He has valuable postseason experience, playing in seven games, including six starts, three in 2013 and three this past season as he recovered two fumbles in the Super Bowl 50 win over Carolina. On the season, Trevathan totaled a team-best 109 tackles, six pass breakups, two interceptions and a defensive touchdown in 15 starts as a he finished ranked as the 10th best linebacker with an 86.6 grade per Pro Football Focus.
Playing in a 3-4 scheme for the first time in his football career, Trevathan stayed healthy and a made a solid impact for the Broncos. He had eight tackles and an interception in a Week 11 win over the Bears at Soldier Field.
Prior to last season, Trevathan played in just three games in 2014 battling three different knee injuries in his left knee which officially ended his season in Week 15 with a dislocated knee cap.
He showed that he was 100 percent last season and there’s no reason to believe that his history with knee issues is a pressing matter. Trevathan will be a perfect fit in Vic Fangio’s aggressive 3-4 scheme as he’ll cover the middle of the field and add a strong option against the run.
Chicago Football’s Kevin Fishbain pointed out that on Twitter that Trevathan had six pass breakups last season which was one more than starters Shea McClellin (4) and Christian Jones (1) had combined.
Pace has hit on another impressive linebacker, just one year after landing pass rushing outside linebacker Pernell McPhee. The Bears’ young core is getting better with each move and now this group can get back to gaining confidence. McClellin is still an option to be re-signed in a reserve/rotational role considering Fangio likes his game.
12 minutes before free agency started, Trevathan tweeted this out. Clearly it was him getting ready to come to an agreement with what it turns out to be the Bears.
More news to come as free agency continues.
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