Ex-Vikings Pro Bowl D-Lineman Named Top Free Agent Target for Bears

Linval Joseph

Getty Defensive tackle Linval Joseph is currently a free agent.

Veteran defensive lineman Linval Joseph is currently a free agent, and one analyst believes the journeyman DT might make sense for the Chicago Bears.

Alex Shapiro of NBC Sports looked at the Bears’ needs post-draft and concluded they need to add depth to their offensive and defensive lines, specifically.

He named Joseph as a free agent option for Chicago.

“Joseph turns 36 next year and is not the same player that he was in his heyday with the Vikings,” Shapiro wrote on May 5. “But defensive tackle is one of the Bears’ thinnest position groups, and Joseph could be an impactful veteran presence to help Gervon Dexter as Dexter presumably takes over as the team’s starting three-tech.”

Linval Joseph Would Be Affordable Addition at DT for Chicago Bears

The @BuffaloBills getting Linval Joseph is a nice move. Played mostly straight-up 0-tech with a little nose shade for the Eagles last season. Primarily a double-team creator for others to thrive, but can still stack-and-shed and disrupt a bit.

A second-round pick for the New York Giants in 2010, Joseph has been journeyman of sorts over his 14 seasons in the league. In addition to playing for the Giants, Joseph has played for the Minnesota Vikings, making two Pro Bowls while there from 2014-2019, the Los Angeles Chargers (2020-2021), the Philadelphia Eagles (2022) and the Buffalo Bills (2023).

The 6-foot-4, 330-pound Joseph hasn’t played a full season in two years, but he can still be a disruptive presence. He played eight games in 2022 after the Eagles signed him in November of that season, and he was a mid-season pickup for Buffalo last year, as well.

In seven games (no starts) with the Bills last season, Joseph accumulated 12 total tackles (one for loss), a QB hit and 1.0 sacks.

Would adding a defensive tackle nearing the age of 36 to a roster that is currently ripe with youth interest the Bears? It’s possible. Both Dexter and Zacch Pickens are just entering Year 2. Adding a veteran with loads of experience to fortify the group would make sense. Joseph would also be very affordable.

He inked a one-year, $1.4 million contract with the Bills last year, and would likely command that or less again this season.

Bears May Focus More on DT in Free Agency After Drafting DE Austin Booker

Adding a vet such as Joseph became more likely for Chicago after the 2024 draft.

The Bears did address their defensive line in the draft, trading into Round 5 to add Austin Booker. That selection added heft to Chicago’s pass rush and may signal the team could focus on adding a defensive tackle such as Joseph next.

Booker is a developmental player, but it’s easy to like his potential.

“He’s a guy that’s got a lot of upside.” Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said about Booker. “He’s long, he’s fast, he’s got a lot of burst to close. You can definitely see that. And he plays an aggressive style, and we’re excited to have him.”

Booker will likely line up on the edge opposite starter Montez Sweat and should be in a rotational role to start.

“I’ve played a 4-down my whole career, college and high school,” Booker revealed after getting drafted. “But I also know I have the athleticism to play on that three-down. Just having the versatility is only a plus for me moving forward. I’m excited to run in the 4-3, get my hand in the dirt again.”

After his addition, all that’s left for Chicago is adding some depth on the offensive and defensive lines. We’ll see if the Bears give Joseph a call.

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