Age may be a concern in some areas of the Bears’ defense, but not at tackle. In their second move this offseason, the organization put in place a young defensive tackle, re-signing backup Nate Collins to a one-year contract.
The re-signing of Collins, 25, first reported by the Chicago Tribune, follows placing the franchise tag on fellow tackle Henry Melton, 26. Along with Stephen Paea, 25, the Bears’ top three defensive tackles have a combined total of just 10 NFL seasons.
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At least one more move is expected, with swing lineman Israel Idonije in talks with the Bears. Idonije has started at both end and tackle and would give the Bears depth at end along with starters Julius Peppers and Corey Wootton. Shea McClellin’s position will sort itself out through this offseason.
Collins was suspended for game one last season, inactive for the next five, then worked into a rotation primarily with Melton, Paea and Idonije. He played 247 snaps, according to ProFootballFocus.com, and graded behind only Idonije, Melton, Peppers and Lance Briggs among members of the Bears’ front seven.