The Chicago Bears today will be visiting with former Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman.
Freeman is a former undrafted free agent out of Mary Hardin-Baylor - where he was a two-time D3 All-American - who spent his first four NFL seasons in Indianapolis. He's been a starter his entire career and has three seasons with at least 100 tackles. His lowest tackle total came in 2014, when he had 95 tackles in 12 contests. His rookie season, he had 145 tackles, and in 2013 he racked up 126 tackles, 6 pass breakups, 2 interceptions and 6 forced fumbles.
Despite playing just 13 games in 2015, Freeman tallied 112 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 2 pass breakups and 1 interception, which he returned 23 yards for a touchdown.
Freeman is a downhill linebacker who is very strong against the run, while he's been very productive in coverage as well. Pro Football Focus graded Freeman the second best inside linebacker in the NFL last season.
He's also very effective as a blitzer, accumulating 12 sacks in his career. Last year, he had 6 QB hurries and 4 QB hits.
Freeman turns 30 in May, which doesn't fit Chicago's youth movement on defense. He's only played four NFL seasons but that wasn't by choice. He was signed as a UDFA by the Titans in 2008 but was cut following training camp. He then spent three years in the CFL playing for the Seskatchewan Roughriders. He was a CFL All-Star in 2011.
Freeman was my second-ranked ILB free agent, behind only Danny Trevathan, who signed with the Bears on Wednesday. If the Bears land Freeman, they will have acquired the two best veterans at the club's biggest position of need.
Also visiting the Bears today is DL Akiem Hicks. A third-round pick by the Saints in 2012, Hicks was traded to the Patriots last season, where he tallied 21 tackles and 3.0 sacks in 13 contests.
At 6-5, 324 pounds, Hicks would give the Bears the size they desire at 5-technique defensive end, thus boosting a run defense that has struggled the past three years. Hicks is only 26 years old.
The Bears also hosted former Cardinals tight end Jermaine Gresham. A six-year veteran, Gresham spent his first five NFL season with the Bengals.
His best season came in 2012, when he caught 64 passes for 737 yards and 5 TDs. Gresham has been a dangerous player in the red zone, catching 25 TDs during his career. He's also a very good in-line blocker.