Wilkinson wrapped up his Bears visit earlier Tuesday, and 9News’ Mike Klis noted (via Twitter) the sides were close on a deal. It appears Wilkinson will be set to be part of Chicago’s next O-line group. It’s a one-year deal, per the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs (on Twitter).
This move comes after the Bears passed on Bobby Massie‘s 2021 option. Massie had served as Chicago’s right tackle starter for the past five seasons. Since 2018, Wilkinson has logged 26 starts — at both tackle and guard — and became essential for a Broncos team that saw its high-priced right tackle essentially miss two full seasons. Ja’Wuan James missed almost all of Denver’s 2019 season, thrusting Wilkinson into a full-time role on the right side, and then opted out of the 2020 campaign.
Given a second-round RFA tender by the Broncos last year, Wilkinson suffered a leg injury that limited him to nine games in 2020. The former UDFA did not perform like an upper-echelon right tackle, grading among the lower half at his position in the view of Pro Football Focus, but has extensive experience now as a starter there.
Wilkinson worked as a guard in 2018, helping Phillip Lindsay to the first of his two 1,000-yard seasons, and has competed with Garett Bolles for Denver’s left tackle spot as well. But James’ issues made Wilkinson a full-time right tackle over the past two seasons.
The Bears have also re-signed O-lineman Germain Ifedi this month. While Ifedi played right tackle in Seattle, he started 16 games with the Bears at guard last season. While the team could continue to bolster its O-line, Wilkinson appears set to at worst step into their swing tackle role next season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.