Alex Bars Among five ERFAs to Sign On Board

The Bears retained their five exclusive rights free agents by tendering them offers in advance of the start of free agency.
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The Bears have retained the rights to their five exclusive rights free agents by tendering them offers for 2021.

Offensive lineman Alex Bars, inside linebacker Josh Woods, outside linebacker James Vaughters, running back Ryan Nall and tight end J.P. Holtz will return to the Bears in 2021.  

Exclusive rights free agents are not really free agents, at least as long as they are tendered. They are players with less than three NFL seasons. ERFAs can only negotiate with their own team.

Bars came up from the practice squad for the sixth game of 2019 and didn't start but did appear in five games that season, then stayed with the 53-man roster througout 2020 with eight starts, including one at center against Tennessee. He started the last seven games at guard, the last six at right guard on a revamped line often given credit for turning around the team's fortunes in the running game which led to the playoff berth.

Nall played every game as a special teams player and reserve runnign back last year, while Holtz was their fourth tight end, a special teams player and a blocking back at times.

Woods, a former college defensive back who converted with the Bears to linebacker, was in on 60% of special teams snaps last season and saw his first defensive action with 46 snaps at linebacker.  

Vaughters is a former Green Bay Packer and CFL player who is an extra edge rusher and made 1 1/2 sacks and 19 tackles last year. 

All five were tendered at $675,000, but Woods counts an extra $15,100 against the cap more than the others because he received a $30,200 signing bonus in 2020 per Overthecap.com.

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