After the NFL’s initial roster cuts on Tuesday, teams went deep into the waiver wire in order to find additional talent. The Chicago Bears ended up claiming the most players by any team, with six new additions on Wednesday.
One of those additions was a 2021 breakout player in defensive lineman Armon Watts, who was cut by the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings opted to trade for Ross Blacklock instead, making him a starter in place of Watts.
In order to make room for Watts, the Bears parted ways with former seventh-round pick Khyiris Tonga, who was a fan favorite and looked like he could become an integral part of this defense in the future.
But, Tonga and Watts are very different players. Bringing in Watts was a smart move, as he fits this defense much better than Tonga did.
Armon Watts will fit the Chicago Bears defense well, and sends a message about what this team wants to accomplish.
While Tonga was a strong run-stuffer on the interior, that’s not the direction the Bears wanted to go with their front. Matt Eberflus and Alan Williams’ 4-3 scheme wants to get after the quarterback with their front four, and Watts is a much better interior pass rusher than Tonga.
In fact, Watts finished with a top-25 interior pass rush grade last year via Pro Football Focus. Still, the Vikings parted ways with the 26-year-old and the Bears were able to take advantage.
Last year, Watts broke out with 5.0 sacks in nine starts. He also came up with 10 quarterback hits, three tackles for loss and two forced fumbles while playing 56 percent of defensive snaps in Minnesota.
Looking at the Bears’ defensive line, they have a lot of guys who are better pass rushers than anything else. Justin Jones, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Robert Quinn, Angelo Blackson, Trevis Gipson, Dominique Robinson — all of these are guys who can get after the quarterback on any given down.
Watts simply adds another talented lineman to this group.
Much has been made about the Bears’ offensive woes and their lack of talent surrounding Justin Fields. However, the defense could be much better than some may think — and it all starts up front.
With two rookie defensive backs in their starting secondary, the Bears will need a formidable front four to help those guys out. It is very clear that this is the goal by Poles and Eberflus, to have a deep defensive line that can get after the quarterback and force ill-timed mistakes which the secondary can take advantage of.
Somehow, Watts was a victim of cutdown day. And somehow, the Bears were able to add him. Now, he’ll only add to the strength that is this defensive line.