AP NEWS

Chicago Bears reward another defender with 2-year deal for Acho

March 15, 2018

The Bears’ re-signing of outside linebacker Sam Acho is another case of the team rewarding one of its own defensive players, and the seven-year veteran provides help at a position that is now the team’s greatest area of need.

News of Acho’s two-year, $7.5-million deal, including $3 million guaranteed, was first reported early Wednesday morning by his younger brother, Emmanuel Acho, a college football reporter for ESPN who played briefly as a linebacker in the NFL. Cornerback Prince Amukamara is also returning on a three-year, $27-million deal.

Acho played the previous three years for the Bears on a series of one-year, veteran-minimum deals. But he wound up starting 25 games as a valuable fill-in when injuries sidelined players like Leonard Floyd, Willie Young and Pernell McPhee.

Acho, who was expected to be strictly a backup, rotational player last year, wound up starting 12 games and had three sacks. His 18 quarterback hits were second on the team to Akiem Hicks’ 20 and, as usual, Acho was one of the Bears’ most effective special-teams players.

The Bears are still expected to further upgrade at outside linebacker in the offseason, and an edge rusher could be their No. 1 priority in the draft. Earlier in the offseason, they parted ways with veterans Young and McPhee. Lamarr Houston, a midseason pickup in 2017, is an unrestricted free agent, leaving Floyd and Acho as the only outside linebackers on the Bears’ roster with NFL experience.

By the numbers:

TE Trey Burton’s four-year, $32-million contract comes with $18 million guaranteed, including $11.3 million this year and next year’s $6.7 million base salary.

WR Taylor Gabriel’s four-year, $26-million deal includes $14 million guaranteed.

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