“Strengths:” Quickness, make-up speed, ball skills and the ability to play on all three downs. He’s an important part of this No Fly Zone D that you’re building here in Chicago.
“Weaknesses:” Lacks ideal size for a traditional 4-3 NFL linebacker and could struggle a bit in run support.
Media Buzz: The Chicago Bears have agreed to terms with free agent LB Alec Ogletree on a four-year deal worth $37 million, including $18 million guaranteed. – Adam Schefter [And the media isn’t even clear about what’s going on…] According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the deal includes $18 million guaranteed and $11.75 million in per year average. – Christopher Harris [Garofalo is better than Schefter]
From Pro Football Focus: Ogletree earned an overall grade of 75.0 last season, his best since 2016 when he saw a career-high 592 snaps. Ogletree was one of just four linebackers who ended the season with a grade above 70.0 in both coverage and run defense, while he was able to drop into coverage on 0.88% of his defensive snaps without allowing a touchdown over the course of 2018.
From PFF: Overall, his pass-rush productivity (19.6) ranked 17th among 4-3 outside linebackers last season, and he showed the ability to generate a big pass-rush spike in one game (two sacks on five pressures vs. Washington in Week 8). That earned him his first positive grade as a rusher since 2016 and was 13th among linebackers over that span.
Ogletree’s career has had its ups and downs. After a solid rookie season in which he recorded 87 tackles, 1.5 sacks, five passes defensed and two interceptions in 15 games (14 starts), Ogletree was suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances. He had a solid 2015 season, recording 122 tackles, 1.5 sacks and four passes defensed in 16 games (15 starts), but missed the final two games of the season after being suspended for violating the NFL’s policy on personal conduct following an arrest on suspicion of DUI. Ogletree also was charged with reckless driving and resisting arrest without violence after the incident.
Ogletree pleaded no contest to reckless driving in the case and was sentenced to a 12-month probation that included weekly drug testing, regular DUI programs, a $230 fine, $2,000 donation to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and attendance at NFL events focusing on drunk-driving prevention.
Ogletree spent the 2017 season in his native Mississippi, working with youth groups and focusing on personal improvement. He returned to the Rams in 2018 and recorded a career-high 155 tackles, three sacks, two passes defensed and one interception in 15 games (14 starts). His tackle total tied for fifth among all linebackers last season. He also struggled at times in pass coverage, however, surrendering a 98.4 passer rating on throws into his primary coverage and allowing five touchdowns with just one interception when the ball was sent into his area of the field.
Ogletree signed a four-year deal worth $42 million with $21 million guaranteed from the Giants last year, and was traded to the Jets in August. He appeared in eight games (four starts) for Gang Green and recorded a career-high 47 tackles, six passes defensed, one interception and two sacks.
Ogletree has had an up-and-down NFL career so far after being taken 30th overall by the Rams in the 2013 draft. He’s by no means a sure thing, but he has good experience playing all three linebacker positions in Wade Phillips’ base 3-4 scheme, and he gives the Bears some versatility in how they use their defensive personnel.
Ogletree played primarily middle linebacker for Jeff Fisher with the Rams, but he spent much of the 2018 season at outside linebacker last season in a 3-4 under Steve Spagnuolo. He’s also played 4-3 inside linebacker and defensive end during his career, as well as nickel cornerback. That versatility should make him an easy fit in Vic Fangio’s scheme if he plays well this season.