The Bears on Wednesday placed veteran nose tackle Eddie Goldman on the reserve/opt out list after he informed the team that he was opting out of the 2020 season due to concerns about the coronavirus.
Selected by the Bears in the second round of the 2015 draft out of Florida State, Goldman has appeared in 67 games with 63 starts over five seasons. He has recorded 153 tackles, 12.5 sacks and 17 tackles-for-loss. Last year the 6-3, 318-pounder earned Pro Bowl alternate honors after registering 29 tackles, one sack and two tackles-for-loss.
In accordance with an agreement reached between the NFL and NFLPA, players may opt out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, with their contracts tolling until 2021. The four-year extension that Goldman signed in 2018 will now extend through 2023.
"You just recognize that this is personal for everyone and you're just very respectful and supportive of that decision," general manager Ryan Pace said Wednesday during a video call with the media. "Both [coach] Matt [Nagy] and I talked to Eddie. We relayed that to Eddie. Eddie is an important part of our team and our family. And we're going to welcome him back at the appropriate time."
"We told him we support him," Nagy added. "We're a family here. He's a part of our family and this is what he chose to do and we've just got to make sure on our end now that we don't flinch and we move forward. But he did it the right way and [we] feel good about where we're at and fully support him."
Goldman is the first (and so far only) member of the Bears to opt out of the 2020 season. League-wide there have been more than 20 players do so, including Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower, Patriots safety Eugene Chung, Bills defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Vikings defensive tackle Michael Pierce.
In terms of replacing Goldman, the Bears are fortunate to possess experienced depth on their defensive line, with six veterans on the roster in Akiem Hicks, Roy Robertson-Harris, Bilal Nichols, Brent Urban, Abdullah Anderson and free-agent acquisition John Jenkins, who returns for a second stint with the team.
"Obviously [Goldman] is a really important part of our defense and a really good young player for us," Pace said. "But I think this is when we talk about the depth that we have built up, especially on the defensive line. When you talk about guys like Roy Robertson-Harris, Bilal, John Jenkins and Brent Urban, and then you factor in Jay Rodgers, who I think is an outstanding coach, it gives us a lot of confidence with that position.
"And then you know we are always looking at ways to improve our team and our roster. There are a lot of avenues for us to do that. It doesn't mean it has to be right now, but there will be opportunities ahead of us as well."