Chicago signs Blake Costanzo

The Chicago Bears have signed five-year veteran linebacker Blake Costanzo. He's a special teams ace, something the team values greatly, and adds depth to the position.

The Chicago Bears aren't done wheeling and dealing today. New GM Phil Emery is working late in the night and has just inked linebacker Blake Costanzo to a two-year deal.

Costanzo is a former undrafted free agent out of Lafayette. Costanzo has appeared in 61 games in five NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills (2007-08), Cleveland Browns (2009-10) and San Francisco 49ers (2011) registering 71 special teams stops with four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.

In 2009, he was selected to SI.com's All-Pro team as a special teamer after recording 14 tackles, 3 fumble recoveries and a forced fumble for the Browns.

The 6-1, 235-pounder was second on the 49ers with 17 special teams tackles in 2011 and paced the team with four special teams stops in the playoffs adding a forced fumble and fumble recovery.

This move adds some depth at linebacker, something the club was lacking, but Costanzo has never started a game at the position in his career. His value is on special teams, where he's established himself as one of the best in the business.

Chicago values special teams more than arguably any other team in the league, so this type of move isn't surprising. The fact it came on the first day of free agency shows how much team coveted him.

With the Bears signing Tim Jennings this afternoon, it's unlikely Corey Graham will re-sign, as he was looking for an opportunity to start on defense. Graham will be missed on special teams – where he was the team's leading tackler last season and for which he earned a trip to the Pro Bowl – which made signing Costanzo a priority.

Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub goes to bed a happy man this evening.

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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