The Chicago Bears are giving Buffalo Bills free-agent linebacker Tremaine Edmunds a four-year, $72 million contract that includes $50 million guaranteed, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
It is the largest four-year contract for an inside linebacker in the NFL.
Edmunds is the second starting linebacker added by the Bears on Monday. Earlier in the day, the Bears agreed to a three-year contract with Philadelphia Eagles free-agent T.J. Edwards worth $19.5 million, including $12 million in guaranteed money, a source told ESPN’s Courtney Cronin.
Over Edmunds’ five years with the Bills, the linebacker has developed into one of the defense’s leaders and key players. He has been a starter from the jump, starting all 74 regular season games and eight postseason games he has played.
The 16th overall selection in the 2018 NFL draft — after the Bills traded up to select quarterback Josh Allen at No. 7 — out of Virginia Tech, Edmunds will turn just 25 years old in May despite already playing five NFL seasons.
The two-time Pro Bowl selection has had 100-plus tackles every season he has played. Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier has spoken about wanting to see Edmunds make more splash plays. Edmunds has 5 career interceptions, 35 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles and 6.5 sacks.
Edmunds has improved in pass coverage, with his route awareness and ability to get to depth as a zone defender. He’s a long, 6-foot-5 linebacker with downhill acceleration against the run and second-level range to track the ball.
In 2022, he played in 13 games, missing time with injuries, but coach Sean McDermott was impressed by the season he put together, calling it “his best year” and noting how he grew as a leader and in his performance.
Edmunds has been responsible for distributing the play calls on the defensive side of the ball and was named a defensive captain each of the last four seasons.
ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg and Matt Bowen contributed to this report.