2013 FA review: Jeremiah Ratliff

February, 15, 2014
Feb 15
Money: Signed a one-year, $840,000 contract on Nov. 2. Jeremiah Ratliff eventually collected $395,294 in 2013 from the Chicago Bears. The deal contained no signing bonus or guaranteed money.

[+] EnlargeJeremiah Ratliff
Dennis Wierzbicki/USA Today SportsDefensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff's role with the Bears for 2014 is unknown at the moment, given his age, health and contract desires.
Stats: Ratliff was active for five games and started the final four. He finished the year with 14.5 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one tackle-for-loss. Ratliff’s snap count gradually increased as the season wore on after he missed an entire year with a groin injury.

2013 role: Ratliff joined the Bears in November after he convinced the club he would be physically ready to play in 2013. Ratliff spent his first three weeks in Chicago on the gameday inactive list, but contributed up front in each of the last five games. The Bears viewed Ratliff as a three-technique defensive tackle in last year’s scheme.

The good: Ratliff made a good impression in a short period of time. Although he sat out an entire year due to the groin problem, he had a couple of impact plays. Conditioning was Ratliff’s major issues, not skill. He is a four-time Pro Bowl selection. Ratliff did nothing to hurt his chances of re-signing with the Bears if the organization feels he can stay healthy and will agree to a short deal for around veteran minimum dollars.

The bad: Ratliff is 32 years old with a history of injury. The older a player gets, the more it costs a team to keep him on the roster, even if it’s a veteran minimum contract. Ratliff didn’t exactly light the world on fire during his five-game audition with the Bears, although he certainly was better than most of the other defensive linemen on the field.

2014 role: Unknown. Ratliff is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. The Bears already stated their desire to get younger on defense, so Ratliff doesn’t fit that mold. But he proved last year he can still play at a reasonably high level. It’s unclear what kind of interest he will attract on the open market. Again, that could be the deciding factor in his negotiations with the Bears.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.



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