Bears sign DE Lamarr Houston

To kick off free agency, Bears GM Phil Emery made a big splash, signing one of the top defensive ends on the open market, former Raider Lamarr Houston, to a five-year, $35 million contract.

The Chicago Bears waited just a few minutes into free agency before it was announced the team's acquisition of defensive lineman Lamarr Houston. It is a five-year deal worth $35 million, with $15 million guaranteed.

After Michael Bennett re-signed with the Seahawks, the Bears turned their attention to Houston (6-3, 300) who had a career high 6.0 sacks in his fourth season with the Oakland Raiders last year. He was a second round pick in Oakland in 2010 and has never missed a game in his four-year career.

Drafted out of the University of Texas as a defensive tackle, Houston has positional versatility and can line up at either tackle or end. In his four-year career, the 26-year-old has 228 total tackles, 16.0 sacks and four forced fumbles. He's a stout run defender as well, which will be a big boost for Chicago's 32nd-ranked run unit.

The Bears have yet to make the official announcement.

Houston will make $7 million per season, unofficially, which is less than what Bennett ($7.125 million), Michael Johnson ($8.75 million) and Everson Griffen ($8.5 million) received.

Houston's new teammate, Bears Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long, took to Twiiter to praise the signing: "Wrestled and trained with LH last year, such a great addition to this team! He is hungry and he's got that non stop motor."

The signing of Houston means the team will almost assuredly be parting ways with Julius Peppers.

Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is entering his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.

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