Bears Sign LB Kelvin Sheppard

The Bears announced that they have signed linebacker Kelvin Sheppard. To make room, rookie linebacker Hendrick Ekpe has been waived. Kelvin Sheppard (vertical)

Sheppard recently auditioned for the Dolphins alongside fellow linebacker Rey Maualuga, but both players left Miami without a contract. The 29-year-old was with the Dolphins in 2014 and 2015 before moving to the Giants in 2016.

With Miami, Sheppard made 30 appearances with the club and started 15 times in two seasons. Last year, the 29-year-old appeared in each of the Giants’ games last season and made 11 starts, but he finished with just 47 tackles, failed to force any turnovers and earned a poor grade (39.1) from Pro Football Focus.

Sheppard may not be able to reprise the career-high 102 tackles he had in 2015, but he could still be a quality depth option for Chicago to evaluate. The Bears project to start Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman at the inside linebacker spots, though Trevathan is questionable for Week 1 with a knee issue (same goes for reserve outside linebacker Pernell McPhee). Before the addition of Sheppard, 2016 fourth-round pick Nick Kwiatkoski and former UDFAs Christian Jones and John Timu were the team’s top reserve ILBs.

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