While Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott said it would be impossible replace a player like Tremaine Edmunds, that’s exactly what he’ll need to do after the Chicago Bears swooped in to sign the linebacker to a four-year, $72 million contract.
Losing Edmunds is a tough blow, but based on the monster offer the Bills’ former first-round pick from the 2018 NFL Draft received, Buffalo was clearly priced out from making a competitive offer. Chicago officially announced Edmunds’ signing on Wednesday, March 15, revealing the text message Bears head coach Matt Eberflus received from former Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier after they snagged the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder.
Frazier, the former ’85 Bear legend who coached Edmunds throughout his entire NFL career in Buffalo, told Eberflus he was getting “one of the premier linebackers in our league,” per the Bears official website.
“They’re getting a tremendous player, a guy who has been to a few Pro Bowls, so that tells you that he’s played at a high level,” Frazier said of Edmunds, who led the Bills in total tackles (102) last season. “And he’s still a very young player; five years in the league and he’s 24 years old. He’s really ascended. He’s not a guy who’s reached his peak by any means.”
“He’s a tremendous leader as well,” Frazier continued. “Not only is he a good football player — a guy who can make plays — but his teammates, they really gravitate to him, and they look to him to lead, both on the field and off the field, in the locker room and the classroom. He’s that type of guy. They’re getting a special player who’s a tremendous leader and who’s also a great person. His parents did a great job of instilling in him the importance of integrity and just being a high character individual.”
Edmunds Posted a Heartfelt Goodbye Message to Bills Mafia on Instagram
After his deal with the Bears was finalized on Wednesday, Edmunds sent Bills Mafia a moving note on Instagram. He wrote, “I am grateful to the Bills organization for giving me my first NFL opportunity and helping mold me into the player I am today. Buffalo is a special city that will always be close to me. I appreciate the fans, the coaches and the entire Buffalo community for embracing me and my family. Thank you for five amazing years.”
The comments section was quickly filled with well-wishes. The Bills’ official Instagram account wrote, “You will be missed! ❤️💙,” while Steelers wide receiver Anthony Miller added, “Congrats g.” A Bills fan commented, “Good luck in Chicago. Thanks for putting it all on the line for us ❤️ 💙.”
While Edmunds was sometimes a polarizing figure in Buffalo, as expectations are always high for a first-round pick, he excelled in 2022, earning a 79.0 overall grade from PFF, which was a huge jump from the 50.4 overall grade earned in 2021, and the 47.9 overall grade in 2020.
Bears Fans & Analysts Strongly Reacted to Edmunds’ Signing
Bears fans and analysts didn’t need Frazier’s praise to get excited about Edmunds coming to Chicago. Learning they were getting the Virginia Tech alum after general manager Ryan Poles had already snagged linebacker T.J. Edwards from the Eagles — they were ecstatic. One man tweeted, “TREMAINE EDMUNDS WELCOME TO THE CHICAGO BEARS ‼️ WHAT A SPLASH By Ryan Poles!!! OMG!! LETS. POLES COOOOOOK 👨🍳😤,” while ESPN insider Field Yates applauded the signing.
Yates tweeted, “New Bears LB Tremaine Edmunds is built for today’s NFL and to play for a Matt Eberflus defense: he’s got awesome athletic ability to play sideline-to-sideline and more than hold his own in pass coverage. And despite already being in the NFL for 5 seasons, he’s just 24 years [old]…”
Fox Sports anlyst Carmen Vitali tweeted, “Honestly love the Tremaine Edmunds signing for the Bears. They ended up paying about the same as they would have for Roquan Smith but by trading Smith and getting a younger player, they ended up with a second-round pick, too. Poles is playing chess,” and WC Gridiron’s Jacob Infate agreed. “It’s a lot of money for a LB, but still cheaper than Roquan, and Edmunds will be just 25 years old in May,” Infante tweeted. “Massive upgrade adding a 2-time Pro Bowler to the defense.”