Holmes worked out for the Bears earlier this week.
Holmes, 30, caught 23 passes for 456 yards and one touchdown last season in 11 games for the Jets, who released him in March. He played in just four games in 2012 before suffering a Lisfranc injury.
His best season in the NFL came with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009 when he posted a career-high 79 receptions for 1,248 yards. Holmes was also named MVP of Super Bowl XLIII.
The Bears have been looking to add some depth at receiver after losing Marquess Wilson to a fractured left clavicle earlier this month. Wilson could miss multiple regular-season games.
To make room for Holmes, the Bears terminated the contract of veteran receiver Eric Weems.
Weems. a Pro Bowl selection in 2010, played in 87 games, with seven starts at receiver, over seven seasons with the Atlanta Falcons (2007-11) and Chicago (2012-13). He contributed 815 punt return yards and a touchdown on 78 returns (10.4 yards per return), and 3,184 kickoff return yards and a TD on 131 tries (24.3-yard average).
Through the first two games of the preseason, Weems hadn't recorded a catch.
ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson and Michael C. Wright contributed to this report.