Terms of the deals were not disclosed, but it’s believed both signed contracts for the veteran minimum. The club moved to sign Collins and Palmer two days before they were set to hit the open market Tuesday with the start of free agency.
It’s unknown at this point whether the Palmer signing will affect the club’s effort to re-sign veteran backup Josh McCown. The Bears had been trying to reach a deal to bring back McCown, who served as the starter for five games last season in place of Jay Cutler. But negotiations had not gone smoothly, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.
In Palmer, the Bears gained some comfort in his grasp of the offensive system, despite the five-year veteran spending just nine games in 2013 with the club. At the end of training camp, Bears coach Marc Trestman came away impressed with Palmer’s ability to absorb information quickly when they brought aboard the quarterback as an emergency fill-in for the injured Matthew Blanchard. The Bears signed Palmer on Aug. 17, and 12 days later in the preseason finale against Cleveland, the quarterback completed 11 of 17 for 111` yards and a touchdown to go with a passer rating of 102.8 in only one half of action.
Still, the Bears cut Palmer at the end of the exhibition season, only to bring him back on Oct. 28.
Collins, meanwhile, became a starter when the team lost franchise defensive tackle Henry Melton for the season with a torn ACL. But in his first game in the starting lineup, Collins tore the ACL in his left knee during a third quarter loss to the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 6.
Collins’ injury marked the second time in 15 days the Bears lost a starting defensive tackle to a torn ACL. Prior to suffering the knee injury, Collins had produced 13 tackles a sack and three quarterback pressures.