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Redskins Bolster Defensive Line With Stephen Paea

The Washington Redskins on Wednesday announced their first move of the 2015 league year, signing defensive lineman Stephen Paea, an unrestricted free agent coming off a career year with the Chicago Bears.

Venturing into free agency for the first time in his career, Stephen Paea said the financial details of his new contract could've turned out to be his primary deciding factor.

But when the Washington Redskins came calling with the opportunity to be a versatile rising star along their defensive line, Paea couldn't resist.

The Redskins on Wednesday formally announced the first move of the 2015 league year, signing Paea, 26, an unrestricted free agent coming off a career year with the Chicago Bears.

"Other teams were offering me a little bit more, but the way Washington would use me in their defense was the reason I chose Washington," Paea said in an interview with’s John Keim. "But whatever they feel that I would fit best, they'll put me in there. I'm there to help, not only playing the run but the pass. I'm all for that."

Paea – who stands at 6-foot-1 and weighs 300 pounds – is a veteran of four NFL seasons after being originally selected by the Bears in the second round (53rd overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft. He has appeared in 55 career games with 40 starts, all with Chicago, recording 94 tackles (56 solo), 12.0 sacks, six passes defensed and two forced fumbles.

Last season, Paea established career highs in games played (16), starts (16), total tackles (33), solo tackles (24), tackles for loss (eight), sacks (6.0) and forced fumbles (two).

With the Bears – who run a 4-3 defensive scheme – Paea served as a defensive tackle. He told Keim that he is anticipating being more of a defensive end in the Redskins' 3-4 defense under first-year defensive coordinator Joe Barry.

The Washington Redskins announced Wednesday, March 11, 2015, the signing of free agent defensive lineman Stephen Paea. Here's a gallery of photos from his career.

"If I get one-on-one on first and second down I feel I can do some damage and get in the backfield," Paea said, "versus playing nose like I did here in Chicago."

Paea – an Oregon State product who trained for the 2011 NFL Combine with Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan – also told Keim that starting martial arts training with coach Joe Kim last year "was part of the reason why I got successful."

"Learning better footwork and better hands and getting after the quarterback. It's all footwork," Paea said of his lessons with Kim. "We'd do it every day over and over again. I learned it in April last year and it took me a while to get used to it, but when I hit camp and preseason I got used to it more. Even now I'm doing it in the offseason and getting better and better."

Paea adds a piece to a Redskins defensive line that has a mixture of both young and experienced talent.

Returning defensive ends include Pro Bowler Jason Hatcher, as well as recent signee Ricky Jean Francois and Frank Kearse, while Chris Baker and Kedric Golston can play both the nose tackle and defensive end positions.

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