Eddie Goldman, former nose tackle for the Chicago Bears, finally hangs up the cleats.
As first reported by NFL insider Ian Rapoport, Goldman, who recently signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons, is choosing to retire rather than play another season. He is 28 years old.
Goldman was a 2015 second-round pick (39th overall) for the Florida State Bears. He started 73 games and played and played 81 in his six seasons at Chicago, and early in his career he was a dominant force at center defense.
Goldman received grades of 63.7 or better in PFF run defense until 2020, when he was not playing. His performance was noticeably worse than ever in 2021 as he finished against the run with a career-low 37.4.
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Goldman opted to pull out of the 2020 regular season due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, and after missing that year, he didn’t look like the same player upon his 2021 return. He played in 14 games last season. He started in 10th place and finished with 22 total tackles while also setting career lows in QB hits (1), tackles-for-loss (1), and sacks (0.5).
The Bears said goodbye to veteran nose tackle this offseason, and he ended up in Atlanta, where he signed a one-year contract with the Falcons. There he reunited with former Bears general manager Ryan Pace, who currently serves as the Falcons’ senior human resources director.
The reunion appears to be brief, however, as Goldman has informed the team that he is retiring instead.
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With Goldman gone and veteran defensive tackle Akiem Hicks also leaving on a free hand, Khyiris Tonga may have a chance to secure his place on the list going forward. Tonga, a seventh-round draft pick for the Bears out of BYU in 2021, didn’t play much as a rookie last year, but he showed flashes filling in for an injured Hicks.
The 6-foot-4, 321-pound Tonga received a 60.4 pass rush grade from PFF, and he split his snaps roughly evenly between the A and B gaps (108 in A gap, 105 in B gap). , so it will be interesting to see how new head coach Matt Eberflus and defensive coordinator Alan Williams use him.
Regardless, he should see a lot more action in the upcoming season. Tonga is currently listed as the team’s top LDT on the ESPN depth chart and barring anything major happening during training camp, it looks set to stay that way.
As a rookie in 2021, Tonga appeared in 15 games, starting with two and playing 23% of Chicago’s defensive snaps. He finished the tournament with a total of 24 tackles (one by loss) and one fumble recovery (stats from Pro Football Reference). If he stays healthy, those numbers should increase significantly in 2022.
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