General manager Phil Emery stocked the defensive pipeline with youth over his first three drafts with three linebackers, two defensive tackles, a cornerback and two safeties within the first four rounds of those drafts. But the Bears were simultaneously making a dramatic push for winning now as well as later, with the signings/re-signings of Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, Jeremiah Ratliff and Charles Tillman — all Opening-Day starters at this point of the offseason.
That push continued Monday as the Bears signed five-time Pro Bowl strong safety Adrian Wilson, one of the NFL’s more renowned hitters in the secondary in his prime but lost to a torn Achilles in the final preseason game last year.
The Bears also signed tight end Jeron Mastud, 6-6, 255 pounds, a 12-game starter for Oakland last season where he caught six passes. Both players agreed to one-year contracts.
At 34, Wilson is neither a long-term answer nor even a roster lock at this point. But the former third-round pick of Arizona’s in 2001 is 6-3, 230 pounds, and will compete with Ryan Mundy for the job vacated by the exit of Major Wright. Wilson missed just two games over the previous five seasons and 11 over 12 NFL seasons (seven in 2007) before the Achilles injury.
A five-time Pro Bowler (2006, ’08-11), Wilson has started 162-of-181 games over 12 seasons (2001-12) with Arizona, recording 885 tackles, 27 interceptions, 25.5 sacks, 99 pass break ups, 15 forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries. He has four return touchdowns (two interception and two fumble return). Wilson is one of 13 players to record 20 or more interceptions and 20 or more sacks in their career since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.