Bears re-sign Craig Steltz

Chicago has agreed to terms with safety Craig Steltz on a two-year contract. Steltz has spent his entire four-year career with the Bears.

The Chicago Bears are taking care of their own.

The team announced today it has agreed to terms with safety Craig Steltz on a two-year deal reportedly worth $1.64 million. He joins Israel Idonije, Tim Jennings, Josh McCown and Kellen Davis as players the Bears have re-signed this offseason.

Steltz has appeared in 48 games, with seven starts, in four seasons (2008-11) with the Bears, gathering 71 tackles, one interception, one sack, two forced fumbles and 37 special teams stops.


S Craig Steltz
Jason O. Watson/US Presswirey

In 2011, Steltz appeared in all 16 games with five starts, gathering 48 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, three tackles for losses and 12 special teams stops.

At safety, Steltz has been a backup for most of his career but he's always been a quality contributor on special teams. Last season, he was fourth on the team in special teams tackles.

Yet Steltz turned heads late in the 2011 campaign. He started the final four games of the season and was a force against the run. He led the team with 13 tackles in Week 15 against the Seattle Seahawks. He played like the fourth linebacker in the box, while showing a strong understanding of his duties in coverage.

He'll never be a Pro Bowler but Steltz is a player that does a lot of things well and brings a lot of value to the roster.

Chicago coaches will likely give him an opportunity to start at strong safety in training camp next year -- coach Lovie Smith loves competition. Third-year player Major Wright has been inconsistent and injury prone throughout his career. If Steltz continues to play the way he did to finish out last season, he's got a good a chance to leapfrog Wright and be a full-time contributor on defense.

At the very least, he provides depth on the back end and is a strong presence on special teams.

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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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