Emma: Bears Have Big Void To Fill Without Goldman

Eddie Goldman has opted out of playing in 2020 due to COVID-19 health concerns.

Chris Emma
July 28, 2020 - 11:19 am

(670 The Score) Ultimately, like every NFL player amid the coronavirus pandemic, Eddie Goldman had to make a decision on whether to play this season not for his teammates, the Bears organization or the city of Chicago, but for himself and his family.

And that's what Goldman did in informing the Bears he would opt out of playing in 2020 due to COVID-19 health concerns, as NFL Media reported Tuesday. Though Goldman is the lone known Bears player to opt out thus far, he's hardly alone across the NFL landscape. A number of players around the league have made the same decision.

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The 26-year-old Goldman's choice deserves the utmost respect. For a key player still in his prime, it had to be an incredibly difficult decision to reach.

The Bears certainly respect Goldman's call to opt out. Fellow defensive lineman Akiem Hicks was the first to tweet his support for Goldman.

As it relates to the football aspect, the Bears have a major void to fill. Chicago is losing its anchor, a nose tackle capable of demanding double-team blocks and stuffing the run.

In his five years in Chicago, Goldman has been one of the best at his respective role. He helps create opportunities for teammates like Hicks, edge rusher Khalil Mack, inside linebacker Roquan Smith and inside linebacker Danny Trevathan.

The Bears also made a major investment by signing veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn to a five-year, $70-million deal in March, but now their defensive front won't look the same without Goldman.

The Bears don't have good options to make up for what they're losing in Goldman. Sliding Hicks over from the five-technique might be wasteful given his effectiveness in that position. Bilal Nichols, Roy Robertson-Harris and Brent Urban are best suited as defensive ends. John Jenkins is the most natural nose tackle to complement Hicks and the defensive front, but he has mostly been a reserve in his career.

Goldman is a big loss for a Bears defense that's looking to regain its dominant form of 2018 and be the strength of a team that has an offense filled with question marks.

With the deadline for NFL players to opt out still looming next Monday, it's worth wondering whether the Bears will be without more players in this unprecedented season.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.