The Chicago Bears will have to play without Eddie Goldman in 2020. Who replaces him?
The Chicago Bears are entering a critical year for many of their current personnel, both on the coaching side and the player side.
Unfortunately, they will need to press forward in the 2020 season without star nose tackle Eddie Goldman, one of the most impactful and prominent players to decide to opt-out of the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Goldman has decided he would rather sit this year out than subject himself to the virus, and plenty of others around the league have taken the same opportunity.
Goldman is just 26, but he’s established himself as one of the top interior defensive linemen in the NFL, especially on early downs. There is no question his absence will be felt by the Bears’ defense in 2020.
Despite playing roughly 50 percent of the Bears’ snaps over the last two seasons, Goldman has been a Pro Bowl caliber player and is capable of being disruptive not only as a run defender but pass rusher.
Stuffing the run is definitely his calling card, though.
So how do the Bears replace him?
It takes a village
With Robert Quinn coming over from the Dallas Cowboys this offseason on a big contract, the Bears have the ability to play a really versatile front even with a base 3-4 defense under coordinator Chuck Pagano.
Last season with Pagano as the Bears’ defensive coordinator for the first year, both outside linebackers Khalil Mack and Leonard Floyd played over 83 percent of the snaps.
The Bears defensive lineman who played the most snaps in 2019 might surprise some — Roy Robertson-Harris.
Akiem Hicks was limited to just five games last year, and he can be a massive ‘addition’ for the Bears in 2020 if you will.
With Robertson-Harris in a contract year, Hicks presumably healthy, and players like Bilal Nichols, John Jenkins, and even Brent Urban in the fold, the Bears should have plenty of players in rotation to pick up the slack from Goldman’s loss, especially with Robert Quinn providing a bit more of an edge-setting presence opposite Khalil Mack than Leonard Floyd did.
Although the Bears didn’t draft any interior defensive linemen in 2020, they should have a number of players already on the roster who can move around the defensive line and play more versatile roles in 2020 to help ease the pain of losing such a valuable player as Eddie Goldman.