The complete restoration of Bears defensive line depth is in order after nose tackle John Jenkins found a new home.
Jenkins signed a one-year deal Thursday with the Miami Dolphins, another former team of his.
Following an opt-out by nose tackle Eddie Goldman, the Bears brought Jenkins back last year after the 6-foot-3, 327-pound lineman been in Chicago in 2017 and for training camp of 2018. He signed on a one-year deal but after free agency began they did not sign him back for another season.
Bears GM Ryan Pace anticipated Goldman would be returning this year.
The Bears also have built their own depth at the nose tackle position by training 3-4 end starter Bilal Nichols to play there in case Goldman is unavailable.
Jenkins, who will be 32 this season, had 21 tackles in a 2020 season reduced to 11 games because of a thumb injury. He made a big fumble recovery in the playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Jenkins had been brought in to help solidify the defensive interior against the run.
The Bears suffered run-stopping problems much of the season without Goldman available, as they have gradually declined from first against the run in 2018 to ninth in 2019 and 15th last year.
Jenkins' signing means their three defensive line backups from last are gone, and it's also possible the fourth one will leave.
Roy Robertson-Harris went to Jacksonville as a free agent, and Brent Urban went to Dallas. The Bears picked up nose tackle Lance McCullers last year from Pittsburgh, but he is alos an unrestricted free agent.
In the meantime, they've added former Cardinals defensive lineman Angelo Blackson to fill one of the lost positions. It's possible they'll look to the draft to fill another vacated spot.
Former Bears punt returner DeAndre Carter also signed elsewhere on Thursday, inking a one-year deal with Washington. He returned four punts for the Bears and played in four games after the Bears first had an ACL tear by Tarik Cohen, then the failure of Ted Ginn Jr. as a punt returner and finally a torn triceps by Dwayne Harris.