It appeared Gilmore would be headed elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent until the Bears significantly stepped up their offer.
Gilmore received a two-year, $2 million contract that includes $550,000 in guaranteed money, according to an NFL source.
He visited the Oakland Raiders and had spoken with the Baltimore Ravens.
The Bears originally offered Gilmore a one-year contract for the minimum salary benefit, which is nearly $100,000 less than he made in 2005.
Although Gilmore has just 12 receptions in 55 career games, he’s the best blocking tight end on the roster as well as a valuable special teams contributor.
Gilmore adds depth to a position that the team will still likely address on the first day of the draft. Whether the six-foot-5, 260-pounder will see an expanded role in the offense remains to be seen, but he does things starter Desmond Clark or reserve Gabe Reid aren’t capable of doing.
The Bears also signed CB Dante Wesley to a two-year contract today. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Wesley comes to Chicago after spending the first four years of his NFL career with the Carolina Panthers. Drafted in the fourth round (100th overall) by the Panthers in 2002, the Arkansas-Pine Bluff product played in 58 of 64 regular season games with Carolina while also appearing in seven playoff contests. Primarily a special teams contributor with the Panthers, Wesley has collected two career sacks.