The drumbeat of signings and re-signings may have softened and even slowed a bit for the Bears in the wake of setting the NFL standard for activity this offseason, but it has anything but stopped.
The Bears agreed to terms on a one-year deal Thursday with tackle Eben Britton, 26, who appeared in the Bears’ final 13 games last season. He also started four, in positions listed as fullback, tight end and second tight end, and stepped in at right tackle one series into game 16 against the Green Bay Packers when starter Jordan Mills suffered a broken bone in his left foot.
The re-signing does set up a potential competition at right tackle depending on Mills’ recovery from the foot injury. Britton performed well in 2013 initially as support in the run game while tight end Martellus Bennett healed from a shoulder injury, but also provided a bigger body in pass protection as needed.
“I thought Eben did a more than sufficient job in taking care of the outside lanes,” coach Marc Trestman said during last season.
Britton, 6-6, 308 pounds, was a second-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1009 and has started 23 games at right tackle and seven and left guard. In part because of Britton’s versatility and play, the Bears re-signed veteran tackle Jonathan Scott after week one last season but never activated Scott for a game, going instead with Britton in his various roles.
The Britton signing also retains in place the kind of core that has both experience and youth. Scott, 31, is not expected back, meaning that the only Bears’ offensive lineman going into 2014 older than 30 is center Roberto Garza. Left tackle Jermon Bushrod turns 30 in August but the Bears have set in place a general core with youth in a key area.