Bears finally land a 3-4 DE in Jarvis Jenkins

Posted by Matt Clapp | 3/24/2015 02:56:00 PM | ,

During the introductory press conference for recently signed outside linebacker Pernell McPhee at Halas Hall, Chicago Bears head coach John Fox was asked what players on the roster appear to be fits at defensive end for the team's new 3-4 scheme:
Pretty much. While Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, and Willie Young were 4-3 defensive ends, they appear better slated to officially be outside linebackers in a 3-4 scheme, and it appears the Bears will use them that way.

On Tuesday, the Bears finally addressed the position by signing veteran defensive end Jarvis Jenkins on a one-year contract.
Jenkins, who turns 27 in April, spent the last three seasons with the Washington Redskins after they selected him in the second round of the 2011 draft.

Here's how Rotoworld (Evan Silva, I assume) summarized the signing:

It's not a surprise Jenkins didn't draw much interest in free agency. A 26-year-old who offers nothing as a pass rusher, Jenkins finished 45th out of 47 qualified 3-4 defensive ends in Pro Football Focus' 2014 rankings. He's serviceable against the run, but still received a negative grade in that area over 552 snaps last season. Chicago's cellar-dwelling defense didn't improve with this minimum-salary signing. 

The 6'4, 315-pound Jenkins was a starter for the Redskins over that time, but clearly not a great one. He only has two career sacks, but also keep in mind that pass-rush productivity from defensive end in the 3-4 scheme isn't nearly as crucial as it is in the 4-3; the primary pass-rushing usually comes from your 3-4 outside linebackers. In the 3-4, you're looking for a bigger-bodied defensive end whose skills are somewhere between a traditional defensive end and defensive tackle. Still, you'd like to see more than two sacks over 33 career starts.

But, again, the Bears desperately needed 3-4 defensive ends and Jenkins is a capable option there, with veteran experience.

The draft is also lacking in quality 3-4 defensive end options at the No. 7 pick (most of the DE/LB prospects seem best-suited as 3-4 OLB for the Bears), so it was wise for the Bears to add veteran options instead of relying on mid-round draft picks, for example.

And according to Brad Biggs, the deal is a very cheap one as well:

The one-year contract is for the minimum salary benefit, according to a source, and contains a partial guarantee.
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