The Chicago Bears went to extensive lengths to revamp their roster on both sides of the ball But one of their biggest gets, linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, finds himself among some rather dubious company, ranked as the NFL’s “most overrated” linebacker.
Bears’ Tremaine Edmunds Ranked NFL’s ‘Most Overrated’ Linebacker
“When the Buffalo Bills drafted Tremaine Edmunds…the hope was that the young but wildly athletic Virginia Tech product would develop into one of the league’s best off-ball linebackers,” wrote Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report on June 2. “However…Edmunds just hasn’t been the sort of playmaker that [Roquan] Smith or a healthy [Shaquille] Leonard have been.”
Bears head coach Matt Eberflus is at least somewhat familiar with both Smith and Leonard having coached the latter from his rookie season through 2021 and being around Smith to start the 2022 campaign.
Smith was traded to the Baltimore Ravens at the deadline after a contract holdout in camp.
.@maine_savage23 is up on the 🎙️@Hyundai | #DaBears https://t.co/lJKyEKrApC— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 23, 2023
Edmunds’ 359 solo tackles since 2018 rank 10th in the NFL in that span. To Davenport’s point, however, Edmunds has never ranked higher than his 19th-placed finish in any single season in that window.
“Edmunds is a very good player being paid like he’s great,” writes Davenport. “But he hasn’t shown that greatness—not yet.”
The Bears inked Edmunds to a four-year, $72 million contract with $36.8 million guaranteed at signing ($50 million guaranteed total) to man the middle of their defense. For reference, that is the fifth-highest total contract value in the NFL among off-ball linebackers and jumps a spot to fourth in terms of annual value, per Spotrac.
He is perfectly explaining @maine_savage23 as his time in Buffalo! Dude was 6 5 but played small and scared like a 5 6 high school kid. Then he's explaining AJ Klein! Dudes 6 1 but plays like he's 6 5 and a fn stud!— GerbrBaby33 (@TheGerberBaby33) May 31, 2023
Tremaine Edmunds Lack of Turnovers a Potential Concern
Of potential concern, and further to Davenport’s message, Edmunds has just five interceptions in his career and only two over the last two seasons. He has also forced just two fumbles – both of which came during his rookie season – and he has never recovered one.
All three linebackers entered the league in the 2018 NFL Draft. But Edmunds also trails both Leonard and Smith in sacks and turnovers.
One knock on Tremaine Edmunds in Buffalo was the lack of interceptions.— DeeksView (@DeeksViewOG) May 24, 2023
Eberflus and his HITS literally preaches turnovers (the T).
Seeing Tremaine Edmunds get an interception yesterday made me smile 😏 hope to get lots of these during the season 🐻⬇️ pic.twitter.com/zgKUh95eGJ
Edmunds is also the youngest of the three, each of whom hit free agency in 2026.
Bears ‘Interested’ in FA Pass Rushers
A lot of what happens with Edmunds and at the second level of the defense in general next season will be dictated by the Bears’ defensive line. Chicago recorded a league-low 20 sacks on the season in 2022 and ranked 31st against the run. Adding Edmunds and fellow free agent addition T.J. Edwards at linebacker isn’t solving that alone.
The Bears have added to their defensive line, mostly with interior players both in free agency and through the draft.
While they have also added some hybrid pass rushers, they might not be content with that.
Matt Eberflus Sends Strong Message on Bears’ Roster
They are mostly limited to aging veterans and retreads for proven options in free agency, which has left them open to trade speculation. Whatever they do, it’s clear that the expectations – both on the outside and from within – are higher than they were last year which is a good thing.
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