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New Bears DT Justin Jones Almost Ended Up with the Colts in Free Agency

Will Justin Jones ultimately end up the ‘one that got away’?

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Los Angeles Chargers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

According to the Sun Times Patrick Finley, new Chicago Bears defensive tackle Justin Jones, formerly of the Los Angeles Chargers, almost ended up an Indianapolis Colt—before settling on joining departed defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus in free agency:

For what it’s worth, Jones signed a 2-year, $12 million deal with the Bears.

Originally a 2018 3rd round pick of the Chargers, the 6’3”, 309 pound defensive tackle recorded 37 tackles (19 solo), 5 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, 2 fumbles recovery, and a pass defensed during 11 starts in 2021 for the Bolts.

Per PFF (subscription), Jones was their 60th best graded interior defender this past season overall with a +57.9 overall.

Of course, he played under new Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley from 2018-20 with the Chargers, so there was established familiarity between the two sides.

That being said, with All-Pro DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart already in the fold, there was likely less of an opportunity for playing time than in Chicago—where the Bears just released long-time veteran defensive tackle and anchor Eddie Goldman.

Given the similarities between Eberflus’ and Bradley’s defensive schemes, it’s not a surprise that the Colts and Bears could find themselves competing for future free agents and even draft prospects—beyond just Jones.

It also appears that Indianapolis is in the market for interior defensive line depth regardless.