What the Bears are getting in new LB T.J. Edwards

The Chicago Bears kicked off NFL free agency in agreeing to terms with linebacker T.J. Edwards on a three-year deal worth $19.5 million.

Edwards, a homegrown product from Lake Villa, is an absolute steal for the Bears, who get him for $6.5 million per year. He was one of the top linebackers on the free agent market, and he fills a huge need at linebacker for Matt Eberflus’ defense, where he’s likely to serve as the MIKE linebacker.

Edwards was one of the top-graded linebackers last season, earning a 84.8 grade from Pro Football Focus.

We spoke to Glenn Erby of Eagles Wire, who gave us the rundown on what we can expect from the Bears’ new linebacker and why he will be a good fit for Chicago.

What kind of player are the Bears getting in T.J. Edwards?

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The Bears are getting a solid player that built himself up from an undrafted free agent to starting middle linebacker and one of the top tacklers in the NFL.  He’s improved leaps and bounds each season and is a guy that Matt Eberflus and Alan Williams will enjoy coaching.

What are Edwards’ biggest strength(s)?

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Edwards is fast, tough, physical, and most importantly, probably the brightest player on your team.  He’s a highly intelligent middle linebacker, earned playcalling duties in Philadelphia, and played a huge role in the Eagles having a top-five defense.

What are Edwards’ biggest area(s) for improvement?

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Like most linebackers in the NFL, Edwards can definitely continue to improve in pass coverage and against athletic players while matched up in space.  Opposing teams can sometimes gameplan to create mismatches because Edwards can struggle against super athletic players like Christian McCaffrey or Alvin Kamara.

What impact did Edwards have on defense during his time with the Eagles?

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He was able to run the entire front, allowing Philadelphia to do different things schematically that put the defense in a position to be successful. Edwards was responsible for the back-seven alignment, and his ascension to middle linebacker allowed Philadelphia to pressure opposing teams without having to blitz.

Why do you think Edwards could be a good fit for the Bears?

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A young rebuilding defense in Chicago will now have the benefit of a polished, three-down middle linebacker that can flourish while playing zone, blitz with effective efficiency, and also contain talented running backs.

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire