Bears Give Out $220K in Guarantees to Sign Undrafted Rookie DT

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Getty Bears head coach Matt Eberflus.

Keith Randolph Jr. is getting a noteworthy amount of guaranteed money to sign with the Chicago Bears as one of their 2024 undrafted rookie free agents.

According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston, the Bears are signing the former Illinois defensive tackle to a three-year undrafted rookie contract and giving him a total of $220,000 in guaranteed money. Randolph will receive a $20,000 signing bonus and will have $200,000 of his base salary with the team guaranteed.

Randolph started 29 games at defensive tackle for the Illini over the past three seasons, recording 4.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss and an interception during his best year in 2022. At 6-foot-3 and 296 pounds, he has good size for the interior and handles himself well against the run, even though he lacks the quick-twitch tools to win as a pass rusher.

While Randolph’s guaranteed money does not promise him a spot on the Bears’ 53-man roster for the 2024 season, he might have the strongest case to make the team among this year’s batch of undrafted rookie signings. The Bears have three solid locks for the interior of their defensive line — Gervon Dexter Sr., Andrew Billings and Zacch Pickens — but the fourth spot in the rotation remains up for grabs heading into OTs next month.

The Bears also have veteran Byron Cowart (2024 free agent signing) and second-year Michael Dwumfour (practice-squad holdover) competing for roles in the rotation.

As of the morning of March 29, the Bears have not yet announced their UDFA signings for the 2024 offseason. It took them six days after last year’s draft to do so, though.

Keith Randolph Jr. Piqued Bears’ Interest Before Draft

The Bears had been showing interest in Randolph throughout the pre-draft process. He told The Draft Network that he had met with the team on Zoom following the 2024 NFL Combine in early March. The Belleville, Illinois native also attended Chicago’s local pro day as a player from an in-state school, eliminating any need for a top 30 visit.

Before the draft, Randolph had been expected to come off the board on Day 3. He had limited athleticism and more room to grow than the class’ other tackles, but he proved to be a sure-fired tackler during his time at Illinois and presented reasonable upside.’s Lance Zierlein projected he could be a sixth- or seventh-round selection.

It is possible the Bears would have considered taking Randolph in that range if they had traded back and acquired additional late-round picks. Instead, they are getting a chance to invest in Randolph’s upside without having to spend a draft pick.

Chicago has found at least one roster-worthy undrafted free agent in each of the past two offseasons (Middle linebacker Jack Sanborn in 2022 and quarterback Tyson Bagent in 2023). Perhaps Randolph can become the latest in their line of UDFA success.

Bears Also Paying $100K to Sign Canadian Rookie OT

Randolph is getting the most guaranteed money (based on available reports) among the undrafted rookies the Bears are signing, but he is not the only one getting a nice sum.

According to Wilson, the Bears are giving $100,000 in guaranteed money to University of British Columbia offensive tackle Theo Benedet, another one of their UDFA signings. He will have a $20,000 signing bonus and an $80,000 portion of his salary guaranteed.

Like with Randolph, Benedet is not a lock to make the roster or practice squad in 2024 just because of his guarantees, but he is another intriguing talent who could push for a depth spot with the team next season. The Bears return both of their starting tackles — Braxton Jones and Darnell Wright — and added two more players in free agency (Matt Pyror) and in the draft (third-round pick Kiran Amegadjie), but Larry Borom’s rising cap hit could put him on the chopping block and open the door for Benedet to compete.

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