The Bears on Wednesday re-signed five of their exclusive rights free agents: offensive lineman Alex Bars, inside linebacker Josh Woods, outside linebacker James Vaughters, running back Ryan Nall and tight end J.P. Holtz.
Exclusive rights free agents are players who have completed fewer than three accrued NFL seasons and can only negotiate and sign with their current team.
Bars’ addition to the starting lineup helped solidify the Bears offensive line over the second half of last season. He opened the final eight games—one at center, one at left guard and six at right guard—and started the wild card playoff contest against the Saints at right guard. Bars originally joined the Bears in 2019 as an undrafted free agent from Notre Dame. He opened his rookie season on the practice squad before being promoted to the active roster in mid-October, but played only 12 snaps on offense.
Last season Woods appeared in 15 games, all as a reserve, and recorded 14 tackles on defense and seven stops on special teams. Joining the Bears in 2018 as an undrafted free agent from Maryland, Woods spent his entire rookie season on the practice squad before playing in nine games as a reserve in 2019.
In his second season with the Bears last year, Vaughters compiled 19 tackles, two tackles-for-loss, 1.5 sacks, two quarterback hits and three special-teams tackles while playing in 14 games, all as a reserve. Vaughters signed with the Bears in 2019 and appeared in three games as a reserve after spending the previous two seasons with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders.
Nall played in all 16 games last season as a reserve, catching eight passes for 67 yards and one touchdown. Nall originally signed with the Bears in 2018 as an undrafted free agent from Oregon State. He spent his entire rookie season on the practice squad before appearing in eight games as a reserve in 2019.
Holtz played in all 16 games with one start last season. He contributed mostly on special teams, registering four tackles. The Bears claimed Holtz off waivers from Washington on Sept. 11, 2019, and he caught seven passes for 91 yards while appearing in 14 games with seven starts.