Bears Adding Former Browns Starting DL to Camp Roster

Coley Signing Bears

Getty Trevon Coley #93 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates in front of Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets after an interception by Terrance Mitchell #39 during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 20, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Chicago Bears are adding some more experience to their defense as they close out their second week of 2022 training camp.

According to the NFL transaction wire, the Bears have signed former Cleveland Browns starting defensive tackle Trevon Coley and fifth-year veteran cornerback Davontae Harris to their 90-man roster after hosting both of them for workouts on August 4. Chicago also waived UDFA defensive back Jon Alexander and defensive lineman Auzoyah Alufohai to clear room on the roster for the new veterans.

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Coley Started 29 Games for Browns

Coley got the majority of his experience as a 29-game starter for the Browns over the 2017 and 2018 seasons, notching 80 combined tackles, 2.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and a safety during his time in Cleveland. Since then, the 28-year-old defensive tackle has also played seven games for Indianapolis and six games (with two starts) for Arizona as a rotational piece, but he has not played since Week 13 of the 2020 season after spending all of last year on injured reserve.

While Coley will have to shake off the rust to have a shot at making the Bears’ active roster, he is a scheme fit for their new 4-3 defense under head coach Matt Eberflus and should have a shot at competing for a depth role. His biggest competition will be backups such as Angelo Blackson, LaCale London and rookie Micah Dew-Treadway.

Harris Adds Depth Amid Graham’s Injury

The Bears seemed likely to add another cornerback to their roster with second-year slot contender Thomas Graham Jr. dealing with a hamstring injury, but Harris will have quite a bit to prove if he hopes to become more than a camp body for Chicago.

The 27-year-old Harris was originally a 2018 fifth-round pick for the Cincinnati Bengals, but he suffered a significant knee injury in September and missed the first three months of his rookie season, playing just 15 special teams snaps toward the end of the year. While he made it back to camp the following year, the Bengals cut their losses and moved on from him during final roster cuts.

Harris didn’t have to wait long for a second opportunity, signing with the Denver Broncos prior to Week 1 and going on to play in all 16 games for their secondary, including six games in which he started on the outside. More playing time, though, did not equate to better numbers as Harris allowed 31 receptions for 296 yards and three touchdowns on 44 targets in coverage during the 2019 season.

Over the past two years, Harris has been relegated to a backup role with several different squads. He played seven games for the Broncos as their No. 4 cornerback in 2020, then got waived and finished out the year as a four-game contributor for Baltimore. He also played one game for the San Francisco 49ers and five games for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2021, playing exclusively on special teams with the Niners.

The Bears aren’t exactly loaded with cornerback talent, but most of them tout more impressive resumes than Harris. Jaylon Johnson and second-round rookie Kyler Gordon project to be their starters on the outside while veteran Tavon Young — who was signed during the offseason — is the logical option in the slot until Graham is healthy again. Beyond them, the Bears also have quality depth in Kindle Vildor and Duke Shelley and a few unproven youngsters in the mix for backup/special teams roles.

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