Bears Add Depth at Cornerback, Sign Former Steelers First-Round Pick

Bears sign CB Artie Burns

Getty New Chicago Bears CB Artie Burns left practice Tuesday with a knee injury.

After the Chicago Bears parted ways with veteran cornerback Prince Amukamara, it left a huge void in their secondary. That void has just been filled — at least partially. Per NFL insider Adam Schefter, the Bears have signed former Pittsburgh Steelers first-round draft pick, cornerback Artie Burns, to a one-year deal.

The Steelers selected Burns with the 25th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He started 32 games for Pittsburgh in that time, starting all 16 his second season after a standout rookie campaign. His production has slipped over the last two seasons, however, and the Steelers declined to pick up his fifth-year option, making him a free agent. He’ll now be joining a Bears secondary that features All-Pro Kyle Fuller, Buster Skrine, Tre Roberson, and Kevin Toliver II.

While Burns has slipped production-wise over the last two seasons, he has plenty of upside. He is currently just 24-years-old, and turns 25 in May, so he’s got age on his side. He also has gone his four seasons as a pro in the league without acquiring a red flag-type of injury, which always helps in the NFL.

Artie Burns on the Bears Defense: How and Where Will He Fit?

As noted, Burns performed well his first two seasons, and then … not so much. Pro Football Focus noted that his best season was arguably 2017, when he had a career high in pass break-ups with 12.

Burns is already fitting in swimmingly; he and recently re-signed Bears safety Deon Bush posted a video together on social media, and they both seemed excited about teaming up in the Bears’ secondary. With Amukamara gone, Burns will likely be competing with Robison and Toliver for a spot in the rotation.

During a strong rookie season in 2016, Burns started nine games for the Steelers. He had three interceptions, 13 passes defensed, and two tackles for loss that year. The three picks remain his career high, but he has had far fewer opportunities to make plays of late.

Burns started six games in 2018 and just one game last season, largely because his production declined. He had a tendency to get burned — pun intended — on deep routes, but he has also shown flashes of potential.

Burns is the second of two corners the Bears have brought in: they also added former CFL standout Roberson in late January.  Burns has 32 career starts, and he has played in 58 total games. His addition to the team makes cornerback one of the more interesting position battles to watch moving forward.

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