Hours before their home opener Sunday against the Giants, the Bears signed running back Tarik Cohen to a three-year contract extension through the 2023 season.
Cohen was in the final year of a four-year deal he inked with the Bears after they selected him in the fourth round of the 2017 draft out of North Carolina A&T.
“We’re extremely excited about being able to extend Tarik,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said. “He’s a versatile player that has a big impact on offense and special teams. We love his character and he’s been a spark plug for our team since we drafted him. Tarik and I both feel he’s a young, ascending player with a lot of high-level years left in this league and we are glad he will be with us in the years to come.”
Since arriving in Chicago, Cohen has appeared in 49 games with 22 starts, rushing for 1,068 yards and five touchdowns on 257 carries and catching 205 passes for 1,540 yards and nine TDs. He has also thrown two touchdown passes and averaged 10.3 yards with one TD on 96 punt returns and 20.9 yards on 30 kickoff returns.
Cohen excelled in 2018, helping the Bears win the NFC North with a 12-4 record. He rushed for 444 yards and three touchdowns on 99 carries and caught a team-leading 71 passes for 725 yards and five TDs. In the process, he became only the second player in league history to gain at least 500 yards via rushing, receiving, punt returns and kickoff returns in his first 25 games.
Cohen lined up all over the field in 2018, excelling in different roles and creating matchup nightmares for opposing defenses. He led all NFL running backs with seven catches of at least 25 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown in a win over the Jets that was the Bears’ longest play from scrimmage of the season.
Cohen was also named first-team All-Pro and voted to the Pro Bowl as a punt returner after leading the NFL with 411 punt return yards.
Last season, Cohen rushed for 213 yards on 64 carries and caught a career-high 79 passes for 456 yards and three touchdowns.
Cohen opened the 2020 season with a bang, rushing for 41 yards on seven carries in a 27-23 comeback win over the Detroit Lions. The 41 yards were his most in a game since 2018.