Chicago Bears: Jordan Senn

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Unable to find a linebacker in the draft that suited their needs, the Bears hope to have found a steal in Florida State undrafted rookie free agent Christian Jones, who moved well when he lined up on special teams and at strongside linebacker over the first two days of the club’s annual rookie minicamp.

Many analysts pegged Jones, a three-year starter for the Seminoles, as a mid-to-late round pick until the outside linebacker reportedly submitted a diluted urine sample at the NFL combine in February.

“[I was] a little surprised [I didn’t get drafted], but sometimes that stuff happens,” Jones said. “Right now I’ve got a good opportunity. I still got on a team, so I’m just making the best out of it.

“You see guys getting drafted above you; everybody thinks they’re better than somebody. But that’s how it is. But it’s going to help fuel me and I believe that things happen for a reason. I really feel like I belong here and I’m just making the best out of this opportunity.”

Jones has a shot to earn a spot on the team depending on how many linebackers make the final 53-man roster. If the team again decides to break camp with six linebackers, Jones will be forced to beat an experienced player, such as 2013 fourth-round draft choice Khaseem Greene or special-teams standout Jordan Senn.

“I feel like I’ve got a lot of versatility and I feel like I can fit in a lot of different systems. I feel like I just need to focus on one spot," Jones said. "I’ve been moved around my whole career and I feel like people didn’t really see what all I could do. They just saw a little glimpse of it. I think it’s going to be a good opportunity to see me at one spot and see what I do.

“Right now I’m at the strongside linebacker spot, so we’re going to see how that works out.”

Bears head coach Marc Trestman added: “He’s [Jones] definitely a player we are keeping a close eye on. He has athleticism.”
Everyone, thanks for taking the time to send in questions for this week’s Twitter mailbag.

We won’t have a mailbag next week, and my normal chat on Monday will be cancelled for this week as I’m headed to Texas to visit some friends and family. But everything returns to normal the week after.

Let’s get started:

Bears steal Willie Young from Lions

March, 13, 2014
Mar 13
Lamarr Houston's five-year, $35 million contract was a start, but the Bears had been sending out clear signals the organization intended to further address defensive end via free agency.

Twenty-eight-year-old Willie Young fit the mold of what the Bears were searching for.

While the Bears never had serious interest in former Minnesota Vikings star pass-rusher Jared Allen, Young’s three-year, $9 million signing allows general manager Phil Emery to continue his mission of getting younger on defense, while at the same time stealing a productive player from the division rival Detroit Lions.

[+] EnlargeWillie Young
AP Photo/Richard LipskiWillie Young posted 47 tackles and three sacks last season for the Detroit Lions.
Young started 15 games for the Lions last year and recorded 47 tackles and three sacks. But the 6-foot-4, 251-pound edge rusher has a reputation for being extremely disruptive when asked to pressure the opposing quarterback.

Young also has ties to Bears coach Marc Trestman from their time spent together at NC State.

To add some perspective, Julius Peppers was scheduled to earn $14 million in 2014 and eat up $18,183,333 worth of cap space. Young lands in Chicago at a fraction of the cost, and at six years younger than Peppers, figures to have a much greater impact on the Bears’ defense for the next several seasons.

Young probably isn’t a household name in the NFL, but the deal looks solid on the surface.

For all the criticism directed toward the Bears’ secondary in 2013, notably the safeties, the front four needed the most work in the offseason. Houston and Young represent a significant upgrade over what the Bears lined up last year at defensive end when the club barely managed to muster a pass rush or effectively stop the run.

The Bears simply weren’t in a position to wait and see when Corey Wootton recovered from offseason hip surgery to make their second move at defensive end in free agency. Maybe Wootton is back in the mix when healthy (June or July), but with a thin crop of defensive ends expected to be available in May’s NFL draft, the Bears knew they had to be aggressive in free agency in regards to the position.

The respective contracts of Houston and Young speaks to the dire situation the Bears found themselves in on the defensive line. In total, the Bears awarded deals totaling eight years, $44 million to defensive ends, while safeties Ryan Mundy and M.D. Jennings, linebackers D.J. Williams and Jordan Senn and wide receiver Domenik Hixon all received modest deals by comparison.

Instead of rolling the dice on older and somewhat more established defensive ends on the market, the Bears secured the bookends of their defensive line for the future.

In free agency, it isn’t always about reeling in the biggest names. It’s about making the moves that make the most sense for the health of the franchise.

Bears add LB Jordan Senn

March, 11, 2014
Mar 11
The Chicago Bears have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with linebacker Jordan Senn, the team announced on Tuesday.

Senn spent the past six years with the Indianapolis Colts (2008-09) and Carolina Panthers (2009-13), appearing in 83 games with seven starts. For his career, Senn has racked up 88 tackles, one interception, two pass break-ups and four forced fumbles.

Senn, a former special teams’ captain for the Panthers, has made 49 lifetime tackles on special teams. He played in 14 games for Carolina last season and registered six special teams' stops.

Senn could be earmarked to replace veteran special teams ace Blake Costanzo, who is a free agent. The Bears have made no attempt to re-sign Costanzo, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation. Costanzo led the Bears with 17 special teams tackles in 2013.