The safety picture for the Bears took on further clarification Thursday as they reached terms with DeAndre Houston-Carson on a one-year contract.
Moreso than on defense, Houston-Carson has become a huge contributor on special teams. He has begun to take over bigger responsibilities on special teams and developed into one of their most effective coverage players with 32 career tackles, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
A sixth-round pick in 2016, Houston-Carson now has 43 total tackles and last year stepped up in importance within the pass-coverage scheme for the first time when Deon Bush was injured. Houston-Carson recorded his first career interception to seal a victory over Carolina and also ended the win over the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers with his pass defense on a fourth-down incompletion by Tom Brady.
Cash value of the deal is not yet known. Last year Houston-Carson played for $1 million on a one-year deal, $90,000 of it in a signing bonus.
With Houston-Carson back, and Deon Bush already signed, the Bears have two veteran options besides starter Eddie Jackson, and also have Jordan Lucas and Marqui Christian under contract.
Whether they would want to address safety further by signing back Tashaun Gipson for another year or look to the draft for another long-term answer at the other starting position remains a big issue as the draft approaches.
Also unclear is the future for 33-year-old safety Sherrick McManis, their key special teams player for the past decade. McManis is an urestricted free agent and has played nine Bears seasons and 11 overall. He's led the Bears in special teams tackles five of the last six seasons.