Washington Signs Stephen Paea

WEDNESDAY, 11:16am: The deal is official, according to Washington’s official Twitter.

TUESDAY, 3:27pm: It’s a done deal between Washington and Paea, a source tells Mike Jones of the Washington Post (on Twitter). Paea chose Washington over the Cowboys, Lions, and Bucs, according to John Keim of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

MONDAY, 12:52pm: Paea has told people that he’ll be signing with Washington, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). It’s not clear if the two sides have agreed to terms, but it looks like they’ll finalize a deal when free agency officially opens tomorrow.

12:09pm: After releasing Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen last month, Washington has been hard at work restocking its defensive line, signing Ricky Jean-Francois and pursuing Ndamukong Suh. While the team missed out on Suh, Jen Lada of CSNChicago.com (Twitter link) is hearing that Washington is closing in on a four-year deal with another noteworthy defensive tackle, Stephen Paea.

When I ranked Paea 44th on my list of this year’s top 50 free agents, I called him an underrated presence in the middle of the Bears’ defensive line, and a solid target for teams hoping to generate an interior pass rush. Only Suh and Kyle Williams had more quarterback pressures from the defensive tackle position in 2014 than Paea’s 47, according to Pro Football Focus’ data (subscription required).

If he were to finalize a deal with Washington, Paea would likely make the transition from a 4-3 defensive tackle to a 3-4 defensive end. The Cowboys and Cardinals were also mentioned earlier this week as potential suitors with interest in the 26-year-old.

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