Bears Sign Jamil Merrell, Conor O’Neill

The Bears have signed former Rutgers defensive lineman Jamil Merrell who was in on a tryout during minicamp, tweets Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. The Bears will also sign Wisconsin linebacker Conor O’Neill to a contract, Biggs tweets. To make room for the duo, the Bears released defensive lineman Israel Idonije and quarterback Jerrod Johnson (link).

The release of Idonije, 33, is probably the most notable of all the moves. The 6’7″ defensive tackle has spent nine of his ten career seasons playing for the Bears, save for a one-year tour with the Lions last season. Idonije has 149 games of NFL experience to his credit, including 50 starts for Chicago. His best season came in 2010 when he lined up at left defensive end for the Bears and racked up eight sacks and 33 tackles.

Johnson, 25, was fighting for a spot on the depth chart to backup starter Jay Cutler. His odds got a little bit tougher, however, when the club signed Jimmy Clausen earlier this month.

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