Eddie Goldman

Bears To Promote DL Damion Square

It looks like Damion Square will be set for a ninth NFL season. The veteran defensive lineman caught on with the Bears earlier this week, via a practice squad deal, but will be on Chicago’s active roster Sunday night.

The Bears are promoting Square from their taxi squad, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Starting nose tackle Eddie Goldman will not make the trip to Los Angeles, having been ruled out for Week 1 with a knee injury, putting Square in position to be a depth piece for his new team.

The Saints released Square on roster cutdown day. A week later, the Bears brought the former Charger in for a workout and added him to their 16-man practice squad. While Square is not a lock to dress against the Rams, Goldman’s injury and the Bears’ thin defensive line depth chart would seemingly ensure the ninth-year vet plays. Chicago has three backup D-linemen on its roster — Square, Angelo Blackson and seventh-round rookie Khyiris Tonga — but one of them will need to start for Goldman.

Square, 32, played six seasons with the Chargers and started 24 games — including 11 during the Bolts’ 2018 playoff season. He played 252 defensive snaps with Los Angeles last season, tallying a sack two QB hits. The Bears are Square’s third team this year. The Browns signed him in May but cut him in mid-August, leading the Saints to take a flier. But Square’s ninth season will begin with Chicago.

Additionally, the Bears are elevating linebacker Josh Woods from their practice squad. The 2020 CBA allows teams to bump up two players from P-squads on game days and dress 48 instead of 46.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/4/21

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves, with the list being updated throughout the day:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

  • Signed: CB Saivion Smith
  • Waived/injured: OT Cody Conway; Conway suffered a torn ACL

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Waived/injured: S Brandon White

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Placed on IR: DB DeMarkus Acy; Acy suffered a torn ACL
  • Waived/injured: OT Anthony Coyle

Eddie Goldman May Not Return To Bears This Year?

The Eddie Goldman saga might not have a happy ending for Bears fans. The veteran defensive tackle opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, but Chicago coaches said back in February they were expecting him back for 2021.

Then Goldman skipped the teams voluntary offseason program and their mandatory minicamp. For no-showing the minicamp he racked up a $93K fine. At minicamp Bears head coach Matt Nagy said that the team still expected him to be “rocking and rolling there at training camp,” but Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune says not so fast.

It’s now a “legitimate question,” as to whether or not Goldman will return to the Bears, Biggs writes. He adds that one league source “suggested Goldman could be weighing retirement.” He does also note that Bears linebacker backed Nagy up by expressing confidence Goldman would be at training camp as well, so who know.

Either way, it’s an interesting situation to keep an eye on. Goldman, the 2015 second-round pick who signed a four-year, $42MM extension with Chicago back in 2018, is a key part of the team’s run defense when on the field. He started at least 15 games in three straight seasons from 2016-18. The Florida State product has also shown some flashes as a pass-rusher up the middle, racking up 12.5 sacks in 67 career games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NT Eddie Goldman No-Shows Bears Mandatory Minicamp

Nose tackle Eddie Goldman was a no-show at Bears mandatory minicamp today. Matt Nagy told reporters that he’s talked with the veteran defensive lineman, but the head coach also noted that the absence was unexcused (per Adam Jahns of The Athletic on Twitter). Nagy said he expects Goldman to be present during July’s training camp.

[RELATED: Allen Robinson To Show For Bears’ Minicamp]

Goldman signed a four-year, $42MM extension ($25MM guaranteed) with the Bears back in 2018. That deal was set to expire following the 2022 campaign, but the deal was extended to 2023 after the veteran sat out the 2020 campaign. As part of that move, Goldman agreed to a $350K stipend during the 2020 season, and his original 2020 salary of $4.75MM was pushed to 2021. It’s unknown if Goldman’s current absence is contract related, but this wrinkle could be a potential explanation.

The 2015 second-round pick has spent his entire career with the Bears, appearing in 67 games. Prior to sitting out the 2020 season, the veteran had only missed a pair of games between the 2017 and 2019 seasons, collecting 4.5 sacks, eight tackles for loss, and eight QB hits over that span.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Lynn, Lions, Goldman, Bears, Gardeck, Cardinals

The Lions got Jared Goff back in the blockbuster Matthew Stafford trade, but with all their newfound draft capital they very well may take another passer early. They’ve got the seventh overall pick in April, plus two future first-rounders from the Rams now. Even if they do draft a young quarterback, it sounds like new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn would prefer Goff to play initially. After acknowledging that if there were a dramatic difference in training camp he would have to play the better player to keep the locker room, Lynn explained his belief that a rookie quarterback should sit at first, via Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.

“I’d love to see that rookie sit and watch for a little while. If he could watch for half the season or watch for the first year like Patrick Mahomes did (behind Alex Smith), I believe he can learn so much from the right veteran quarterback because a lot of rookies come into this league and they’re not ready,” the Lions’ new offensive play-caller said. “The speed of the game is twice as fast as it was in college and they don’t have success. And in today’s environment with social media things get out of whack and some of these guys lose their confidence and, hell, they never get it back. So if I can sit a rookie, I will. If I can.

Of course, Lynn was the head coach of the Chargers this past year when they initially started Tyrod Taylor over first-round pick Justin Herbert. An injury knocked out Taylor after only one game, and Herbert took the job and never looked back.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Many teams lost full-time starters due to COVID-19 opt outs for 2020, including the Bears with defensive tackle Eddie Goldman. Goldman started at least 15 games at nose tackle in each of the three previous seasons for Chicago before sitting out this past year. Fortunately for the Bears, new defensive coordinator Sean Desai said Monday that the team believes they’ll have him back in 2021, per Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com. Due to the league’s opt-out rules, Goldman’s contract, which owes him $4.75MM next year, tolled to 2021 automatically.
  • Cardinals outside linebacker Dennis Gardeck had a breakout 2020 season when he recorded seven sacks, but unfortunately it ended in injury. He was placed on injured reserve with a couple of games left to go, but we didn’t know at the time how severe it was. In an Instagram post last month, Gardeck revealed it was a torn ACL that he suffered. An UDFA in 2018 out of D2 school Sioux Falls, he was just a special teamer his first two years. He still was only getting limited snaps this past year but made the most of them, racking up the seven sacks despite playing less than ten percent of the defensive snaps. He had three multi-sack games. Unfortunately due to how late his ACL tear came, he should be considered questionable for Week 1 right now.
  • In case you missed it, the 49ers are reportedly either going to take a ‘big swing’, or stick with Jimmy Garoppolo.

2020 NFL Opt Out Tracker

Per an agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA, players with COVID-19 health concerns can opt out of the 2020 season. Initially, the deadline was believed to be Tuesday, August 4. Talks between the league and the union have pushed it to August 6.

Chiefs guard and medical school graduate Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was the first player to officially opt out. Scores of players followed.

Here’s the rundown, so far:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • T Brad Seaton

Tennessee Titans

  • OL Anthony McKinney

Washington Football Team

Free agents

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears’ Eddie Goldman Opts Out

Bears defensive tackle Eddie Goldman will opt out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 health concerns (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Goldman’s decision leaves the Bears with a major void to fill up front, with just over a month to go before the scheduled start of the season.

[RELATED: Patriots’ Hightower Opts Out Of 2020 Season]

Goldman was set to continue on the four-year, $42MM+ extension he signed in the fall of 2018. Now, his $4.75MM in guaranteed salary will toll into 2021 and his full contract will run through 2023.

Last year, Goldman suited up for 15 games, notching 29 tackles and a sack. As a big man in the middle, his true value isn’t really captured by the traditional stats. The advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus framed him as the 35th best interior defender in the league out of 118 qualified players, thanks in part to his work against the run. For Goldman, that was actually a down year, and he’s provided steady pressure against quarterbacks over the last two seasons.

The opt outs are piling up quickly, and there are surely more on the way. NFL players have until Friday to formally make the call.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Re-Sign Ben Braunecker

The Bears and tight end Ben Braunecker agreed to a two-year deal, according to a source who spoke with Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Bears did not tender Braunecker as a restricted free agent, but found a way to retain him nonetheless.

Meanwhile, the Bears carved out some additional cap space in advance of free agency, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Defensive tackle Eddie Goldman had a $3MM roster bonus coming to him, but the Bears have converted it into a signing bonus, giving them an extra $2.25MM in breathing room. Heading into Monday, the Bears had less than $20MM in cap room, putting them in the bottom third of the NFL. The Goldman adjustment won’t put them in the same league as cash-flush teams like the Jets, Colts, and Browns, but it will give them some extra flexibility.

Meanwhile, the Bears are reportedly discussing trades for Jordan Howard, which could give them some additional draft capital to work with.

Bears, NT Eddie Goldman Agree On Extension

Shortly after authorizing the richest defensive contract in NFL history, the Bears are locking down another key defender.

The Bears and nose tackle Eddie Goldman agreed on a four-year extension worth more than $42MM Friday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The 24-year-old lineman will receive $25MM guaranteed as a result of this re-up, Rapoport reports.

A former second-round pick, Goldman was entering his contract year. Two days before the Bears begin their 2018 season, they now have another defensive lineman signed long-term. They took care of Akiem Hicks last year and now have four of their front-seven bastions signed to long-term deals, with Danny Trevathan and now Khalil Mack in the fold on veteran deals — one of which standing out a bit more than the other.

Goldman won’t be paid close to what Mack is, but the fourth-year starter is now one of the highest-paid nose tackles in the game.

Among pure 3-4 nose players, Goldman’s $10.5MM-AAV-plus agreement now is in line to sit second among this position. And among those extended long-term, Goldman’s deal now leads the pack. Ndamukong Suh is making $14MM this season, but the Rams gave him a one-year deal. Goldman’s now set to collect the most guaranteed money among nose tackles, his $25MM haul surpassing Damon Harrison‘s $20MM guarantee.

The Florida State alum started 15 games for Vic Fangio’s improved defense in 2017, bouncing back from a 2016 season-ending injury. He’ll join Hicks and Jonathan Bullard as first-unit linemen when the Bears face the Packers on Sunday night and will now do so knowing his long-term future will be in Chicago.

Bears Sign DT John Jenkins

Here today, gone tomorrow, and back again. That’s the story of the Bears and defensive tackle John Jenkins who was released on Saturday and re-signed on Monday. Jenkins takes the place of safety Deiondre’ Hall on the roster after he was placed on injured reserve. John Jenkins (vertical)

Jenkins, 28, first signed on with the Bears in March. He’ll help to provide depth behind starting nose tackle Eddie Goldman in Vic Fangio‘s 3-4 set. Jenkins bounced around in 2016 but he was a 12-game starter for New Orleans as recently as 2015.

The Bears also signed nine players to the practice squad: