Veteran ILB Danny Trevathan has agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the Bears, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reports Thursday evening. Trevathan's four-year, $32 million deal he signed with the Bears in 2016 after winning Super Bowl 50 with the Denver Broncos had expired.
Trevathan missed the final seven games last season with a grisly left elbow dislocation but was a Pro Bowl alternate following his best season with the Bears two years ago. He has started 47 of a possible 65 games for the Bears, becoming one of their steadier players and locker room leaders.
"He's such a great leader," Bears GM Ryan Pace said last month of Trevathan. "He's such a good player. Obviously when he was hurt last year, that hurt our defense for a multitude of reasons. But he's an important part of what we're doing."
The return of Trevathan, who turns 30 next week, alongside former first-round pick Roquan Smith to help anchor one of the NFL's best defenses means fellow impending free agent Nick Kwiatkoski won't be back. Instead, the homegrown product likely will follow in the foosteps of Adrian Amos and sign a lucrative contract elsewhere after breaking out following Trevathan's injury, which could perhaps put the Bears in line for another compensatory draft pick next April.
The Bears still could re-sign top reserve Kevin Pierre-Louis, who'd provide an important layer of insurance behind one of the game's better starting duos, with Smith coming off pectoral surgery and Trevathan having started all 16 games only twice in his first eight seasons and once with Chicago.
Trevathan earning a second contract with the Bears is an illustration not only of his dynamic ability when healthy but the respect he commands throughout Halas Hall, where another established leader and defensive starter, Prince Amukamara, was recently released. Not having to replace both of those experienced veterans is a big plus, in addition to Trevathan's speed, familiarity and physicality, all making his a welcome return to a star-studded unit.
The Bears' decision to lock up Trevathan also increases their flexibility with the new league year fastly approaching next week. They'll likely be in search of a new starting safety to round out the NFL's stingiest defense over the past two seasons combined. But the heavy will come on the 29th-ranked offense, where Mitch Trubisky will receive more competition and upgrades are needed almost across the board.
But with limited cap space — approximately $24 million prior to Trevathan's deal — and draft capital, the Bears will have to be shrewd. And opting to re-sign Trevathan should get them off to a very solid early start.