Well, the NFL’s new season is just hours away. At 4 PM Eastern Tuesday, the NFL rolls into a new year, and with it comes free agency. With the Bears needing a lot of help on defense, they are expected to be players. The following is the latest.
The Bears re-signed defensive tackle Nate Collins to a one-year deal. Collins played in only five games last year before tearing his ACL.
The signing leaves the Bears with just one important tackle position left to sign. Days ago they signed Jeremiah Ratliff. Will they re-sign former Pro Bowler Henry Melton, or will they get one through the draft.
Going down the stretch, Melton has apparently gotten some interested parties for his services. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys are teams that have been linked with Melton.
The Bears are thinking there could be a soft market for Melton so they will wait until after Tuesday’s deadline to sign him. I do not believe the Bucs or the Cowboys are realistic landing spots for him. The Bucs already have a good tackle in Gerald McCoy who is in the books for $15 million in 2014, and the Cowboys are in salary cap hell so they probably cannot get into the bidding for Melton.
The Bears also signed quarterback Jordan Palmer to a one-year deal, perhaps as protection for the likely departure of backup quarterback Josh McCown.
The team could also be hedging their bets at defensive end. There is mutual interest between the Bears and Michael Bennett, but over the weekend it was reported that the team is also interested in Michael Johnson.
Pro Football Talk reported that according to the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs, two team officials are confident that the Bears will sign Bennett shortly after the year opens on Tuesday.
A Seattle Seahawks blog speculates that since the other defensive end, Chris Clemons, has not been cut yet (he is due $9.6 million in 2014) to make cap space room for Bennett, the Seahawks may already be prepared for Bennett’s loss.
Charles Tillman has said he would take a discount to stay in Chicago, and the Bears have said they want him back, but his return is still a toss up. The field at cornerback is loaded this year, so there will be some good players available who are younger and in better health than Tillman. The market will be rough on veterans like Tillman. If he does re-sign with the Bears, expect just a one year deal.
With the Bears expecting to make a splash with Michael Bennett, their interest in another big name free agent might have waned. It was reported that instead of focusing on the number one free agent safety, Jairus Byrd, the team is more interested now in second-tier safeties. Mike Mitchell of the Carolina Panthers and Ryan Mundy of the New York Giants are two names that have been linked with the Bears.
Come back to Da Windy City for all your Chicago Bears free agency news. We will have updates and keep you informed up to the minutes on any breaking news today or tomorrow.