The Bears on Friday placed a second-round tender on restricted free agent DL Roy Robertson-Harris, which means a team that wants to sign the versatile defensive lineman must send a second-round draft pick to Chicago as compensation. The projected tender amount for a second-rounder is approximately $3.2 million.
In three seasons with the Bears, the 6-5, 292-pound defensive lineman has recorded 7.5 sacks, 6 passes defensed and eight tackles for loss. He started a career-high seven games and logged 543 defensive snaps last season, after playing 656 combined on defense in his first two campaigns.
Robertson-Harris, 26, joined the Bears as a 2016 undrafted rookie outside linebacker out of Texas-El Paso, essentially redshirting as a rookie as he transformed his body to become a versatile and imposing chess piece who can wreak havoc across the front.
One of the Bears' more underrated players, he would've received plenty of interest had they allowed him to test the market. But that was never in question; the only one was how much the Bears valued RRH, which became clear when they used a second-round tender rather than an original-rounder (estimated value of $2.1M, with no compensation). The Bears were never going to use a first-round tender, which would cost them roughly $4.6 million.
Robertson-Harris came on like gangbusters early last season with 2.5 sacks and three tackles for loss in the first month of the season, including a monster Week 1 vs. the Green Bay Packers (1 sack, 2 TFLs, 2 QB hits). But like the rest of the Bears defense, he would feel the burden of Akiem Hicks' absence while playing a lot more snaps, contining to provide stout play overall but not the consistent disruptiveness he did early on in the season.
With Danny Trevathan's new deal and Leonard Floyd still under contract with less than one week remaining until his $13.2 million salary guarantees, RRH could be a big beneficiary in a contract year with the Bears' entire front seven set to return. There's also the outside shot, as Matt Nagy mentioned at least year's owners meeting when the Bears' OLB corps was even thinner than it is currently, that they could tap into his dynamism and positional flexibility standing up on the edge across from Khalil Mack. That could also do wonders for his long-term earning power.