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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Brendan Sugrue

Bears tender ERFAs DB Josh Blackwell and DL Andrew Brown

The Chicago Bears are hanging on to a couple of key reserves on defense. According to Over the Cap’s Jason Fitzgerald, the Bears placed exclusive rights tenders on defensive back Josh Blackwell and defensive lineman Andrew Brown. Both players played meaningful snaps down the stretch of the 2022 season and are set to return in 2023.

Blackwell originally signed with the Philadelphia Eagles last offseason but was claimed off waivers by the Bears during final roster cutdowns. An undrafted free agent out of Duke, Blackwell had blazing speed and the Bears saw a fit for his skillset. He played in 16 games, primarily as a key special teams contributor but began making his mark on defense late in the season. With multiple cornerbacks dealing with injuries, Blackwell was thrust into the lineup and held his own against teams like the Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills. He finished the year with 23 total tackles, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.

Brown, meanwhile, has bounced around the league since he was drafted in 2018, spending time with seven different teams. The veteran began the season on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad, but was signed by the Bears in late November. He played in five games, totaling one tackle with the Bears.

With the Bears tendering both Blackwell and Brown as exclusive rights free agents, they’re now unable to negotiate with other teams and remain on the roster for the time being.

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