The Monday morning signing of free agent defensive tackle Amobi Okoye gives the Bears proven depth in the interior line and is an upgrade over Brian Price, who was waived.
The Bears acquired the 6-foot-1, 303-pound Price for a seventh-round draft pick early in training camp, but he was clearly not in football shape. The former second-round pick struggled to recover from hamstring injuries last season and a recent knee injury, and from the tragic death of his older sister in a hit-and-run traffic accident last spring.
As a Bear last season, Okoye tied with Julius Peppers among the team’s defensive linemen with 27 tackles, and he was fourth with 4 sacks. Last off-season the sixth-year veteran signed with the Bucs, who outbid the Bears and signed him to a one-year $2 million contract as an unrestricted free agent. But he was waived in Tampa’s final cutdown last week.
The 6-foot-2, 292-pound Okoye started just one game for the Bears last season but played in all 16 as a key member of the interior rotation. He has started 59 NFL games but is still just 25 years old, having been drafted in the first round in 2007 by the Texans as a 19-year old. He played four years in Houston before joining the Bears.