Eddie Goldman has found a new home in the NFC.
Goldman is the latest in a slew of former Bears players and coaches to head South, including wide receiver Damiere Byrd, offensive linemen Germain Ifedi and Elijah Wilkinson, linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, all-everything gadget receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and cornerback Teez Tabor.
Former Bears general manager Ryan Pace, who was fired in January at the conclusion of the 2021 season, was hired by the Falcons a month later to be a senior personnel executive, and will work primarily in their scouting department. Pace is currently working alongside Ruston Webster and Phil Emery, another former Bears GM.
Several former Bears coaches, including Dave Ragone (ex-QBs coach and passing game coordinator), Charles London (former RBs coach) Ted Monachino (OLBs coach) Jon Hoke (defensive backs coach) and Michael Pitre (RBs coach) are also now in Atlanta serving in various roles.
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Goldman Was a Force on Defense Early in His Career
The Bears selected Goldman in the second round (39th overall) out of Florida State in 2015, and he made an impact on defense immediately. He started 15 out of 16 games as a rookie, finishing with 4.5 sacks, six QB hits and five-tackles-for-loss — all of which remain career-highs (stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference).
He became a reliable run-stopper in the middle of the defensive line for Chicago, earning solid run defense grades from PFF over his first several seasons (66.8 in 2016, 64.9 in 2017, 87.8 in 2018 and 69.7 in 2019).
In 2018, the Bears rewarded his strong play by inking him to a four-year extension worth $42 million ($25 million guaranteed). After a solid 2019 campaign, Goldman opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, and his days with the Bears felt numbered after that.
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Goldman Had Worst Season of His Career in 2021
A slew of rumors and questions emerged about whether Goldman would even play football in 2021 after he didn’t play at all in 2020, but ultimately, the veteran nose tackle chose to take the field.
He the worst statistical season of his career, finishing with a career-low run defense grade (37.4), while playing just 39% of the team’s defensive snaps, also a career-low. He finished with just a half-sack, one tackle-for-loss and a lone QB hit, also low marks for him over his six seasons as an active player.
The Bears wound up releasing the 28-year-old NT in a cap-saving move this offseason.
During his seven seasons in Chicago, Goldman played in 81 games, starting 73. He amassed 175 total tackles, 13.0 sacks, 18 tackles-for-loss, 21 QB hits and two fumble recoveries in his time with the Bears.
Now, he’ll get a clean slate in Atlanta with more than a few familiar faces.