Chicago was speculated to be a major player at the start of this year's Free Agency period. The McCaskey's bankrolling $25 million in up-front money to make additions, Jerry and Lovie being on the proverbial hot seat, a lack of draft picks; all led us to where we are right now.
I think Brad Biggs summed it up the best in this tweet:
In 10 years have not seen an opening 45 minutes to free agency like this for the #Bears. Peppers, Taylor, Manumaleuna all on their way. Wow.
Merely two and a half hours into the start of Free Agency and the Bears already have three high-profile players scheduled for a visit to Halas Hall later today (Friday).
More after the jump...
Julius Peppers, one of the top prizes on the open market, has been one of the hottest topics over the past few days. Vaughn McClure reported earlier that Lovie Smith landed in Charlotte sometime around midnight to meet with Peppers and his agent, Carl Carey, and will fly back to Halas Hall with them later today. There's a good feeling, around the web, that this is a done deal.
Barring any complications in Chicago, the Julius Peppers deal gets done and announced with the Bears by Friday afternoon. - Adam Schefter (twitter)
In addition, Chester Taylor and Brandon Manumaleuna (link) will also visit. While some might not feel that these players really address our biggest concerns heading into next year. Both would fit well into a Mike Martz offense and would be solid additions, in my opinion.
One potential issue with Taylor (from the link above):
...he could be a starting running back for the Bears and one league source told the Tribune that his agent is angling for a contract with $8 million guaranteed for the 30-year-old back...
Is it even possible to fit all of these players demands into the $25 million "bonus" that the McCaskey's handed out?
The night looked promising from the inception, with talks of the Bears in contract negotiations with Antrel Rolle. A player that would fill a necessary hole in our secondary that we've been desperately missing. Talks seemed to have died down now, with the Dolphins offering Rolle a contract and with his pending visit to New York scheduled for later today (link).
The article mentions Ryan Clark as a possible target should the Bears miss out on Rolle's services. Let's also not forget about OJ Atogwe, he definitely has the hard spelling last name and x-team qualifications that we tend to target. Losing out on Rolle won't hurt, if we can land a player like Clark or Atogwe.
What are your thoughts on all of this?
[NOTE: If a big story breaks throughout the night and no one's around to post it, does it really happen? You guys are on your own 'til morning. Grab your snuggies, get comfy and be respectful, goshdarnit!]