The Chicago Bears are in the process of rebuilding their defense, but they will retain one cog up the middle of their defensive line, re-signing defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff to a new two-year contract on Wednesday.
Ratliff, who signed with the Bears in November after being released by the Dallas Cowboys, recorded 14.5 tackles with the Bears, including a sack and a half. Ratliff was a seventh round pick of the Cowboys in 2005, and racked up 28.5 sacks and 331.5 tackles with the team over an eight season career. He also made four Pro Bowls.
The re-signing of Ratliff doesn’t necessarily indicate where the Bears will be focusing their efforts on when May’s NFL Draft rolls around. The Bears still have contract situations to hammer out with Corey Wootton and Nate Collins, both of whom are capable of playing up the middle of the field. The Bears will also have to look into defensive ends, with Shea McClellin shifting to linebackers and Julius Peppers potentially being cut before free agency begins next week.
As for Ratliff, he is the 10th unrestricted free agent that the Bears have kept in the fold. That is the most of any team in the NFL, according to the team’s press release announcing the signing.