With Eddie Goldman opting out of the 2020 season, the Chicago Bears have a huge hole in the middle of their defensive line.

Chicago Bears defensive tackle Eddie Goldman just opted out of the 2020 season. He did so due to concerns over the COVID-19 virus.

The 6-foot-3, 320-pound lineman played in 67 games in five seasons, recording 12.5 sacks. His strong point, however, was his run-stopping ability. Opposing running backs have trouble penetrating the middle of the line. With him leading the way, the Bears’ rushing defense ranked in the top-ten since 2017.

Now, without Goldman, there is a huge hole in the middle of the defensive line that needs to be plugged.

The Bears had a very good backup in Nick Williams, but he left this offseason via free agency. He now plays for the Detroit Lions. Goldman’s current backup is veteran John Jenkins. Do the Chicago Bears have faith in him to step in as a starter?

The Bears receive some salary cap relief with Goldman not playing. They’ll get about $4.85 million in added space. For 2020, they’ll have about $16 million in cap space.

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Do the Bears go after someone with the added money? There are some players who could contribute who are still available. Marcell Dareus is a two-time Pro Bowl player and a former All-Pro. He is available due to injury but he could be a good one-year rental. If he is over his injury he could provide help. It’ll be a win-win for both sides, as he could prove he’s over his injury and the Bears get the help they need. Dareus can then move on and get a bigger contract elsewhere and the Bears get Goldman back.

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There are other players who could also contribute. Xavier Williams, Damon Harrison, and Mike Daniels are other viable options.

We’ve all thought that the offense was what the Chicago Bears needed to concentrate on improving. We never gave the defense a second thought. When general manager Ryan Pace went out and actually improved the defense (signing free agents Robert Quinn and Tashaun Gipson, drafting Jaylon Johnson), he raised the expectations of even more greatness for the unit.

Now, however, the running defense takes a big hit. Even with a proper replacement, there aren’t a lot of run defenders as good as Goldman. He’s been an underrated player throughout his career. He doesn’t get a lot of acknowledgment outside of Chicago but his teammates and the coaching staff know exactly what they have. They know how big of a blow this is but they support his decision.

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