Ryan Mundy, M.D. Jennings provide safety net for Bears
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter March 12, 2014 10:53PM
The Bears signed two safeties in less than 24 hours, gave away Major Wright’s jersey number and have told Chris Conte he’ll have to earn a starting job.
And the competition at the position, it seems, is only getting started.
“We’re definitely going to look at the safety position,” general manager Phil Emery said Wednesday at Halas Hall. “Continue to look at it extensively in the [free-agent] market and the draft and post-draft.”
The addition of former Packers safety M.D. Jennings on a one-year deal came minutes before the team introduced safety Ryan Mundy, who signed a two-year pact.
Jennings started all 16 games last year, posting a career-best 68 tackles with one pass breakup, one sack and one fumble recovery.
It’s unclear, though, if he’ll be the starter at free safety. Emery said he had good range and good coverage skills but added that he was versatile and a valuable special-teams player.
Mundy — who will wear Wright’s No. 21 — said he feels comfortable playing strong safety or free safety.
“I’m not a guy who’s going to shy away from contact,” said Mundy, who spent a year with the Giants last season after four with the Steelers, where he played behind Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark.
“I like to get down there, mix it up with tight ends, running backs, might even run into a few linemen here and there.”
Creating competition at safety is a luxury Emery didn’t have last season, when Wright and Conte struggled and left the Bears with few options to replace them.
Mundy had nine of his career 14 starts last season. Whether he’s a starter or an insurance policy is a question that won’t be answered until the Bears are done shopping.
“I feel like I’m coming in here to compete for a starting opportunity, and that’s all I can ask for,” Mundy said. “I don’t shy away from competition.”