Yesterday kicked off the first day of legal tampering, which is a 72-hour window before Free Agency officially starts where a team can begin negotiating with players' agents (just not the players themselves). It didn't take long for some rumors to surface tying the Chicago Bears to the two biggest pass-rushers hitting the market.
ON MICHAEL BENNETT
Articles starting popping up months ago regarding the possibility of Seattle Seahawks pass rushing specialist Michael Bennett joining the Chicago Bears in 2014, what with his little brother Martellus being on the team, and Chicago's historically bad defense in 2013.
Bennett is one of the two top pass rushers hitting free agency this week, and indications are that the Bears are already showing significant interest. We can expect there to be multiple teams in play for Bennett, but considering how much Phil Emery was able to do last year during Free Agency (remember Jermon Bushrod and Martellus Bennett?), and how talented general counsel Cliff Stein is with working out the Bears salary cap situation, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if the Bears ended up being the team to land the top pass-rusher on the market.
ON MICHAEL JOHNSON
If Bennett is considered the top pass rusher hitting Free Agency, then Michael Johnson will be considered a solid #2, and as it happens, there are already reports that the Bears are also showing considerable interest in the 27-year old Bengals defensive end. If the Bears do not hit payday with Bennett, Johnson would be the next biggest impact guy, and Phil Emery won't walk away from this Free Agency period without getting one of these guys.
ON HENRY MELTON
The Bears have gone on record to say that they would love to bring back the former Pro Bowl defensive tackle, but a season-ending ACL tear in 2013 has undoubtedly caused them to apply the brakes. Melton won't be in line for as big a paycheck as he would have been prior to injury, and as expected, will test the market to see what types of offers could possibly come in. The Bears won't set the market on a guy coming back from knee surgery, but you can bet they'll consider matching any offer deemed to be in their price range.
That's all we've got for now... Stay tuned to WCG for more Free Agency news and rumors as they become available.
This is your Sunday Funday Legal Tampering Open Thread... Have fun!