It has been reported by Matt Lombardo that the Chicago Bears are signing LB DeMarquis Gates. Gates, who most recently played for the USFL’s Birmingham Stallions, is 26 years old and has played for many different teams. He first played at Ole Miss, where he racked up 17.5 tackles for loss and six sacks in four seasons.
He bounced around a few NFL teams before playing for the Memphis Express in the AAF, the Houston Roughnecks in the XFL, and then the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL before landing with the Stallions. It was with the Stallions that he had his most impressive season, gathering 68 total tackles, 6.5 sacks and one interception. He was seen as arguably the best linebacker in the USFL this past season.
With Roquan Smith holding in for a new contract, this is a low risk, high reward move for the Bears. Coming off his best season as a pro player and only being 26 is a great thing for this young Bears team. He can come into camp and try to prove his worth to the team, stepping into the huge hole Smith has left with his absence from the field.
This seems to be new GM Ryan Poles theme as we see more of his moves throughout the offseason. He picks up a young, athletic player and tries them out. If they work out, it’s a great move and will help the team win down the road. If not, it’s easy to cut ties and move on.