After being unable to pry Michael Bennett away from the Seattle Seahawks, the Chicago Bears have turned their attentions toward another pass rusher set to hit the market.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Bears are now pushing hard to sign Oakland Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston.
Chicago is in need of pass rush help. The team is attempting to trade high-priced defensive end Julius Peppers and could end up releasing him if unable to find a trading partner. With a massive cap number for 2014, a trade of Peppers would seem to be unlikely. Losing Peppers would only increase the need for capable pass rushers in Chicago.
Houston is coming off the best season of his career with the Raiders. Houston compiled 69 tackles with six sacks and two forced fumbles this season for Oakland. He’s also been durable, appearing in all 64 games over the last four seasons.
With Bennett signing with Seattle and Greg Hardy and Brian Orakpo being tagged by Carolina and Washington, respectively, Houston – along with Cincinnati’s Michael Johnson – could be the top defensive ends to actually reach free agency on Tuesday. With competent pass rushers always in demand, it could make the fight for their services more lucrative than initially anticipated.