Bears Could Get ‘Help’ From Former Steelers Starter in Free Agency

Chris Wormley

Getty Chris Wormley is still a free agent.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Chris Wormley is currently a free agent and one analyst thinks the Chicago Bears should scoop him up immediately.

Jake Rill of Bleacher Report listed three free-agents the “Bears must pursue,” and he thinks Wormley could be a solid and affordable option still on the market.

“If Chicago wants to take a chance on a low-risk, potentially high-reward player, it should consider Chris Wormley, a 29-year-old defensive tackle who has spent three years apiece with the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has 80 games of experience and has backed up some strong players throughout his time in the AFC North,” Rill wrote on September 3, adding he believes Wormley’s veteran presence would be good for an interior defensive line that includes rookies Gervon Dexter Sr. and Zacch Pickens.

“It wouldn’t be a huge signing for the Bears to add Wormley, but it’s a move that would add depth and possibly help their younger players.”

Wormley Played Well in 2021, Had ACL Injury in 2022

Wormley, a former standout at Michigan, was drafted in the third round by the Ravens in 2017 (No. 74 overall), where he spent the first three years of his career. In the spring of 2020, he was traded to the Steelers along with a 2021 seventh-round pick in exchange for a 2021 fifth-rounder.

His best season came in 2021, when he played in 15 games (14 starts) for Pittsburgh. He finished with career highs in tackles (51), tackles-for-loss (6), quarterback hits (10) and sacks (7.0). The 6-foot-5, 300-pound defensive tackle has played 80 career games (31 starts) and has amassed 142 tackles (80 solo, 14 for loss), two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and 11 sacks (stats via Pro Football Reference).

Wormley blew his ACL playing against the Ravens during Week 14 of last season, and revealed on Instagram that he had successful surgery to repair it in December of 2022.

Bears Need Interior DL to Be Solid This Year

With rookies Dexter and Pickens currently listed as second-stringers on Chicago’s depth chart, veterans Justin Jones and free agent addition Andrew Billings are currently listed as the team’s starters on the interior.

The Bears were dreadful against the run in 2022, allowing 157.3 yards a game on the ground, which ranked 31st out of 32 teams. The defensive line was also unable to get into opposing backfields much, as the team finished with a league-low 20 sacks — and 4.0 of those were courtesy of rookie safety Jaquan Brisker, who led the team.

Stopping the run will be of paramount importance for Chicago if the team wants to make life more difficult for opposing quarterbacks.

Analyst Robert Schmitz of Da Bears Blog broke down Chicago’s final preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, in which the team played its starters for at least one series, and he noticed that the D-Line got more porous when Jones and Billings came out and the rookies went in.

“This can’t happen when the games count,” Schmitz noted. “If it does, opposing offenses are going to be ruthless — meaning either Billings & Jones are going to play Ironman minutes or the Bears’ defense is going to get caught flying to the run on Play Action passes.”

Adding a player like Wormley would undoubtedly give the team more depth on the interior, and he’s not a bad run-stopper, either. PFF gave him a respectable 78.2 grade against the run last year (144 run defense snaps). If he’s healthy, he’d certainly be worth bringing in for a tryout.

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