Washington signed the former Chicago Bears defensive tackle on Tuesday. The terms were not disclosed, but a source said that Paea received a four-year deal worth $21 million, with $15 million guaranteed. Paea said the chance to play in a one-gap scheme, which Washington will employ this season, and to play in nickel situations led to his decision. He'll play end on base downs and move inside on passing downs, Paea said.
A four-year pro, Paea finally played a full 16-game season in 2014. Prior to that, he had never played an entire season because injuries sidelined him on multiple occasions.
Paea finished the 2014 season tied for 10th among defensive tackles in sacks (6) and showed flashes that he has finally reached the potential the Bears saw in 2011, when they made him a second-round pick. One of the team's strongest players in the weight room, Paea seems to be a good fit in a penetrating, one-gap 4-3 scheme, rather than the 3-4 front the Bears are expected to use in 2015.
Paea's strong 2014 campaign was expected to make him one of the Bears' most sought-after commodities in free agency.
Interestingly, Paea, 26, couldn't even speak English when he first moved to the United States from Tonga at age 16.
ESPN.com Bears reporter Michael C. Wright contributed to this report.