Melton tore the ACL in his left knee with 12:58 left to play in Chicago’s 40-23 victory Sunday over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Looking to add depth, the Bears brought in Cohen and Daniel Muir for tryouts, before opting Friday to sign the former.
“I just talked to [general manager] Phil [Emery] about him,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “I don’t know much, but he’s with us. We’ll find out a little bit more. Phil’s been out of town, so I’ll have a chance to chat with him. I did by phone, but [I’ll] have a chance to talk with him a little bit more.”
Cohen has played in 27 career NFL games (with five starts) for Detroit (2008-09), Jacksonville (2010), New England (2010-11) and Dallas (2013). He has posted 32 tackles.
Fourth-year veteran Nate Collins will start Sunday opposite Stephen Paea, who is expected to move into Melton’s customary spot as the three-technique while Collins plays nose tackle. It’s likely that defensive end Corey Wootton will also kick inside to defensive tackle to enter the rotation, which will also include undrafted free-agent Zach Minter.
Minter had been among the team’s inactives over the first three games.
“[Melton] is definitely a great player. No one is going to do what he does out there,” Minter said. “But when the opportunity presents itself, it’s our job to take advantage, but also step up and play like he’s not missing. So it’s up to us to keep the momentum going, keep the pass rush up and get after the football.”
Melton has 13 sacks since 2011, which ranks second among defensive tackles during that span. So replacing him will be a difficult proposition for Chicago’s already struggling pass rush. Through the first three games, Collins has contributed seven tackles in limited action.
Filling in for an injured Melton at Pittsburgh, Collins posted two tackles.
“I feel like I’m aggressive, like I might be a little undersized,” Collins said. “But in some situations, playing in that phone booth at nose tackle, it’s an advantage as long as I keep my pads down and use my leverage to my advantage.”