Bears add free agent Derrick Martin to defensive backfield
In a corresponding move, the Bears also waived first-year safety Cyhl Quarles to open a roster spot for Martin. Following those moves, the Bears’ offseason roster currently stands at its maximum limit of 90 players.
The eighth-year Martin is coming off a season with the New England Patriots after initially signing with the team last October. Martin appeared in five of the Patriots’ final eight regular season games in last year, recording five tackles and one sack.
Although Martin spent most of his career as a reserve defensive back – who can play outside, in the slot and safety – he also performed special teams duties. Despite typically being billed as a safety, Martin also has experience at the nickel spot – where the Bears apparently most need him considering their current defensive backfield situation.
Bears’ 2012 draft pick Isaiah Frey was initially expected to get the first shot at locking up the nickel cornerback position, to fill the void left by Hayden. After spending all of last season on the Bears’ practice squad, Frey one of the most surprising players to step up in training camp to this point. But the 28-year-old Martin poses tight competition for the job with the promise of adding veteran presence at the Bears’ backfield.
A sixth-round pick out of Wyoming in the 2006 NFL draft, Martin spent his first three years in the NFL with the Ravens, which included his most productive season in 2007 when he played all 16 games with three starts, recording 40 tackles, seven passes defensed and two interceptions. Martin also spent time with the Green Bay Packers (2009-2010) and New York Giants (2011), which included winning back-to-back Super Bowl championships with the two teams.
The 5-fot-10, 180-pound Martin appeared in 66 career games with four starts, while amassing 37 career tackles, three interceptions, eight pass breakups, one sack and one fumble recovery.
According to NFL.com, the Bears also worked out free agent cornerback Rod Hood - who spent time with the Bears previously (in 2009), and former Bengals defensive back Jason Allen.