NFL Free Agency: DeMarcus Walker signs new contract with Chicago Bears
Former Florida State defensive lineman DeMarcus Walker has landed a new contract in the NFL after hitting free agency. Walker will now be playing for the Chicago Bears, signing a three-year deal worth a total of $21 million according to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe.
In four years at Florida State, Walker turned into a highly productive part of the Seminoles defense. In his career, he totaled 179 tackles with 41.5 tackles for loss, 27 sacks, eight passes defended, seven forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception. 16 of those 27 sacks came as a senior in 2016.
Walker’s productivity was enough to land him in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, selected by the Denver Broncos. Walker spent the first four years of his career in Denver, before hitting free agency and signing with the Houston Texans. He spent this past season with the Tennessee Titans.
In his six-year NFL career, Walker has totaled 114 tackles with 24 tackles for loss, 19.5 sacks, 39 quarterback hits, two forced fumbles, two passes defended and one fumble recovery. His best season came in 2022 in Tennessee, totaling 32 tackles with 10 tackles for loss, 16 quarterback hits and seven sacks.
More on the 2023 NFL offseason, free agency
The NFL 2023 calendar year is set to begin at 4 p.m. ET on March 15 when contracts running through 2022 will officially run out, making those players free agents. Prior to the beginning of free agency, teams will have a chance to designate one franchise or transition tag player, starting on Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. ET and ending on March 7. Beginning March 13 through March 15 teams will be allowed a legal negotiation with players who are set to become unrestricted free agents.
In addition to NFL free agency, the new year also marks the beginning of all trades being made official by the league office. April 21 marks the deadline to sign restricted free agents to offer sheets while April 26 marks the deadline for teams to match restricted free agent offers sheets. 722 players are slated to become free agents in 2023.
More on restricted, exclusive rights free agents
Players with only three years of accredited NFL experience become restricted free agents. Their original team will have the option to apply first-round, second-round, original-round, and right-of-fight-of-first-refusal tenders on players at escalating price tags. The higher the round, the more expensive the tender amount; however, if a separate team does offer a contract and the original team does not match that round pick will be conveyed from the new team to the original team. Right of first refusal only gives a team the option to match or not. If they don’t match, they get nothing in return. An original-round tender would send a draft pick from whatever round the player was drafted back to the original team if they chose not to match. The original team will have five days to match once a player signs an offer sheet from a new team.