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Roster Moves: Bears sign Edwards, put Piñeiro on IR

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The Bears on Tuesday signed veteran defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. and placed kicker Eddy Piñeiro on injured reserve with a groin injury.

A new rule that was implemented this season due to COVID-19 enables NFL teams to return players to the active roster after they've spent three games on injured reserve. That means that Piñeiro is eligible to return for the Bears' Week 4 home contest against the Indianapolis Colts.

Piñeiro, who was unable to kick in training camp because of the injury, made 82.1 percent of his field-goal attempts (23 of 28) last year in his first season with the Bears after being acquired in a trade with the Oakland Raiders in exchange for a conditional seventh-round draft pick.

The Bears signed kicker Cairo Santos Aug. 25, waived him during final cuts last Saturday and then added him to their practice squad Sunday. Santos has converted 80.6 percent of his field-goal attempts (108 of 134) over six NFL seasons with the Chiefs (2014-17), Bears (2017), Rams (2018), Buccaneers (2018) and Titans (2019).

In addition, Santos made all of the field goals and extra points he attempted in a Bears scrimmage Aug. 29 at Soldier Field. 

A provision in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that was reached in March allows NFL teams to activate two practice-squad players per game—thus increasing the size of their active roster from 53 to 55—and then return them to the practice squad the day after the game without exposing them to waivers. However, no player can be elevated from the practice squad to the active roster more than twice during a season; the third time their contract would be terminated and they would be placed on waivers before they could be returned to the practice squad. 

After Santos was signed, coach Matt Nagy told reporters that the Bears intended to keep two kickers this season, but wasn't sure whether both would remain on the active roster or one would be on the practice squad.  

Santos converted 84.8 percent of his field-goal attempts (89 of 105) during his first four NFL seasons with the Chiefs when Nagy was Kansas City's quarterbacks coach (2014-15) and offensive coordinator (2016-17).

Edwards, meanwhile, has played five NFL seasons with the Raiders (2015-17), Giants (2018) and Saints (2019), appearing in 59 games with 24 starts and recording 93 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 12 tackles-for-loss, 23 quarterback hits and three forced fumbles. 

The 6-3, 280-pounder was selected by the Raiders in the second round of the 2015 draft out of Florida State. He played in 14 games with 10 starts as a rookie, registering 42 tackles, 2.0 sacks and 3.0 tackles-for-loss. 

After being limited to two games due to injuries in 2016, Edwards started all 14 games he played in 2017, compiling 27 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 4.0 tackles-for-loss. 

Edwards, who spent his first three NFL seasons teaming with Bears star outside linebacker Khalil Mack in Oakland, was waived by the Raiders as part of final cuts in 2018. 

Edwards was claimed the next day by the Giants and appeared in 15 games, all as a reserve, with New York, recording 14 tackles, 2.0 sacks and 3.0 tackles-for-loss.

Edwards signed with the Saints last year and played in 14 contests, all as a reserve, and registered eight tackles, 3.0 sacks and 2.0 tackles-for-loss. He was released by New Orleans last Saturday as part of final cuts.

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