John Jenkins is back.
The former Bears nose tackle who has had a history with Bears GM Ryan Pace has signed as a free agent to bolster the defensive line.
Jenkins was with the Bears under former coach John Fox when Vic Fangio was defensive coordinator in 2017 and made eight tackles in eight games played with one start. He was cut before the 2018 season when Matt Nagy took over as coach and went to the New York Giants for one season, then the Miami Dolphins last year. He played all 16 games last season with five starts for the Dolphins.
In 2013, Jenkins entered the league without playing football at a four-year college. He had played at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and was signed by the New Orleans Saints when Pace was working with New Orleans in the front office.
At 6-foot-3, 327 pounds, Jenkins gives the Bears someone who can actually play over center or shade the center as a backup to nose tackle Eddie Goldman. For all intents and purposes they've played without a backup nose tackle the last few years since Jenkins was cut.
They used Roy Robertson-Harris, Nick Harris, Bilal Nichols or Abdullah Anderson in the role if it was needed. None of those players have the size Jenkins does to be a space eater and lock down the middle of the line. All are 3-4 defensive end types.
Akiem Hicks does have the size to be a nose tackle, but the Bears want to keep him where he can use his speed and strength to get into the backfield.
The Bears didn't draft a defensive lineman after Williams went to Detroit in free agency, but have signed Mississippi State's Lee Autry and Duke's Trevon McSwain as undrafted free agents.