Defensive Depth and Special Teams Addition

Linebacker Austin Calitro signed with the Bears after they cut wide receiver Reggie Davis.
Publish date:

The Bears added possible depth at inside linebacker Monday by signing much-traveled linebacker Austin Calitro, who is in his fourth season.

They cut wide receiver Reggie Davis as a corresponding move.

Calitro is a linebacker who could challenge some of the players who are behind starters Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan, and backup Christian Jones. Calitro has been on special teams in the three seasons he's been playing. He has nine special teams tackles and 88 career tackles, including seven tackles for loss and 1 1/2 sacks.

Calitro has been with the New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks twice, the Cleveland Browns, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos since coming into the league in 2017 as an undrafted free agent from Villanova.

He has appeared in 42 games and played last year in Denver in Vic Fangio's defensive system, and has been in on almost half his teams' special teams snaps over the course of his three seasons.

Inside linebacker was one of the positions where the Bears lacked proven depth last year, and when they faced New Orleans in the playoffs without the injured Smith they started Manti Te'o, who'd been with the team since October on the practice squad and hadn't played a down all season. Signing Jones in free agency was a big step toward solving the experienced depth problem.

The Bears have undrafted free agent Josh Woods and 2018 fourth-round pick Joel Iyiegbuniwe behind the first three inside linebackers, as well as undrafted rookie acquisition Caleb Johnson from Houston Baptist.

Iyiegbuniwe's role has been almost entirely in special teams despite being an early Day 3 draft pick. Woods played ahead of him last year when Smith went out with an elbow injury in the regular season finale.

Davis had been with the Bears since December of 2019. They signed him to their practice squad after he'd been cut by Dallas and he spent last year on the practice squad. Davis has never appeared in an NFL game.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven