NFL free agency rumors, Bears free agents, cap space, needs and more (Open Thread)

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

We've got the when, the who, the how, what and why of NFL free agency in our Windy City Gridiron Chicago Bears Free Agency Primer! Continue on for all the gory details!

When does free agency begin?

Today at 4:00pm ET, although there will be some leaks before then.

Who are the available free agents?

You can check out Rotoworld for a pretty straight forward list, or peruse Pro Football Focus if you don't mind clicking on each position group for a breakdown.

What positions do the Chicago Bears need to address?

Even though the Bears have done a good job bringing in some depth the last month or so they still need to fill out their roster with some more talent.

  • Defensive end
  • Defensive tackle
  • Safety
  • Corner
  • Tight End #2
  • Running Back #2

Some of the Bears' needs can be addressed in the draft as well.

Have the Bears done any work in free agency?

With so many free agents, the Bears have been the most active team so far.

They re-signed QB Jordan Palmer, DT Jeremiah Ratliff, DT Nate Collins, CN Kelvin Hayden, C Roberto Garza, C Taylor Boggs, DB Derrick Martin and a deal is imminent for LB D.J. Williams.

They also added street free agents DE Austen Lane, DE Trevor Scott and CB Derricus Purdy.

Are there still Chicago Bears' free agents the team could bring back?

DE - Corey Wootton - He plans to test the market, may need to settle for a 1 year prove it type deal as a secondary target in free agency.

CB - Charles Tillman - With the Buccaneers readying to release Darrelle Revis, Peanut to Tampa makes sense.

DT - Henry MeltonCowboys and Bears rumored to have interest, but Melton intends to fully test the market.

QB - Josh McCown (Texans, Buccaneers, Jets and Bears were all rumored to have interest, but McCown said there are only two teams interested now.)

OL - Eben Britton - His versatility adds to his value.

CB - Zack Bowman - Filled in adequately for Tillman last year.

LS - Patrick Mannelly - Either Phil Emery re-signs The Mann or we riot.

Who have the Bears been rumored to have interest in?

Defensive end Lamarr Houston appears to be plan B after Michael Bennett decided to stay in Seattle. Houston is a bigger version (6'3", 300 pounds) of Bennett as he plays DE, but can also move inside to DT. He played over a thousand snaps in Oakland last year and compiled 69 tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles. PFF had him for 57 combined QB hits and hurries.

Safety Donte Whitner has been linked to Chicago, although it looks like the Cleveland Browns are leading for his services.

Do the Bears have enough cap space to sign anyone?

Yes and no.

They currently have around $8 million available to them, but with a few cuts, extensions and/or restructures they could pick up much more.

Cutting Julius Peppers would open up close to $10 million in space. They could get about a million if they cut wide out Eric Weems. WR Earl Bennett restructured his deal last year to help out the Bears, but if he's cut it would give them $2.45 million.

Brandon Marshall has a cap hit of $9.3 million due in 2014, his last contracted year. An extension makes sense for him at some point.

Plus there's always the fat Jay Cutler deal that can be reworked, but I think that's a last option.

COMPLETE LIST OF CHICAGO BEARS FREE AGENTS

- CB Charles Tillman
- CB Zackary Bowman
- CB Sherrick McManis
- S Craig Steltz
- S Anthony Walters
- S Major Wright
- DT Henry Melton
- DT Landon Cohen
- DT/DE Corey Wootton
- LB D.J. Williams
- LB James Anderson
- LB Blake Costanzo
- LS Patrick Mannelly
- QB Josh McCown
- OT Eben Britton
- OT Jonathan Scott
- PR/KR Devin Hester

What are your thoughts on free agency?

And remember to keep it right here for all Bears breaking news!

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