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The Bears Den: March 13, 2014 - Chicago Bears free agency news & notes

Will Michael Ford have a better career as a Bears running back than Kahlil Bell?

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Thearon W. Henderson

Busy Bears not done bolstering roster - Larry Mayer: The Bears have re-signed 13 of their own players since late December and inked four from other teams in the first 24 hours of the free agency. But they’re not done upgrading their roster.

Bears still looking to add starters - Michael C. Wright: As free agency moves along, more starting-caliber players will be released and salary demands will drop, which is why the Bears are keeping a close eye on what is transpiring.

Defense starting to take shape - Adam Hoge breaks down what we learned from Phil Emery's press conference Wednesday.

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Lamarr Houston introduced at Halas Hall; still need pass rushers?

Houston's versatility appeals to Bears - Larry Mayer: At Lamarr Houston's introductory press conference Wednesday, Phil Emery described the Bears' new DE as a versatile and productive player who will bring toughness to the defense.

Houston wants to be a leader by example - Brad Biggs: Houston's $7 million annual average matches Briggs, in the final year of his contract, for the most on the defense. In other words, in a Bears' unit in transition, Houston is expected to be in the forefront.

Roaring start ... but can Houston help Bears slaughter competition? - Mike Imrem: Everyone associated with the Bears was excited about this week's flurry of free-agent signings. The question is whether the new players will help win a championship or simply be bodies to fill out the roster.

Player profile - Dan Durkin breaks down the film on Lamarr Houston, who has the versatility and read-and-react skills the Bears coveted.

No, Bears, a pass rusher must rush the passer - Steve Rosenmoan: A Bears team that tied for the fewest sacks began free agency by signing a DE who recorded fewer sacks than a guy they wanted to dump.

Bears still looking for pass rush by committee - Moon Mullin: Their expectation is a pass-rush collective that starts with a physical stoutness against the run. As Rod Marinelli preached, "You have to earn the right to rush the passer."

Bears have interest in Jared Allen - Adam Hoge: Allen is currently feeling out the market and based on his production last season probably still thinks he commands a good amount of value and a multi-year contract. Bears ideally would only want him on one-year contract as they develop a younger pass rusher behind him.

Houston wants ‘best friend’ Melton back - Lamarr Houston and Henry Melton played together at Texas; now Houston wants to play together in Chicago. With [Audio]. Ben Goessling: Melton will visit Vikings on Thursday.

More Bears free agency news & analysis

Bears add Packers safety Jennings - Larry Mayer: After signing four players on the first day of free agency Tuesday, the Bears agreed to terms with former Packers safety M.D. Jennings on a one-year deal Wednesday.

M.D. Jennings not a slam dunk signing for Bears - Michael C. Wright: Perhaps the Bears brought in Jennings to see what he could do, and at worst, use him as a backup safety and special-teams contributor.

Player profile - Adam Hoge assesses the addition of safety M.D. Jennings and what it could mean for the team's draft.

Mundy's traits intriguing to Bears - Larry Mayer: When Phil Emery was evaluating NFL safeties in preparation for free agency, Ryan Mundy’s name kept coming up.

Evaluating the Bears' initial free agency moves - James Neveau: What should fans make of the decision to bring guys like Lamarr Houston into the fold?

Bears unveil new faces, address future - Brad Biggs sums up the Bears' free agency thus far, and what's to come.

Versatility key word in Bears free-agent signings - Dan Wiederer: Phil Emery believes free-agent signees Lamarr Houston and Ryan Mundy will reinvigorate the defense by filling multiple roles.

Unknown of new defensive toys represents hope - Dan Bernstein: It’s always nice to have new toys to move around in new ways, and there’s no harm in imagining that the unknown is an inherently good thing, But it’s important to keep in mind that different sometimes is just different, and not necessarily better.

Emery dives right into free agency - Melissa Isaacson: Yes, the Bears still have needs on defense, but they are improving their depth and free agency is not over. Hearing Emery say they are going to "keep grinding on the roster," makes it hard to be too hard on him.

[Video] View from the Moon - McCown heads to Tampa; Bears staying busy in free agency.

[Video] CSNChicago discussion - Reaction to early Bears moves.

Buccaneers make Josh McCown an offer he couldn't refuse

McCown signs with Bucs - Josh McCown has signed a two-year, $10 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, confirmed his agent. Josh is our quarterbackTribune: Bears career in photos.

McCown deserving of opportunity - Michael C. Wright: Phil Emery once called McCown "a glue guy," while others within the organization have described him as "fatherly." Cutler will probably miss McCown the most.

[Video] CSNChicago discussion - McCown leaves Bears, signs with Bucs. Will the Bears miss him?

Will the Bears miss Josh McCown? - Either way, it was smart for McCown to cash in when he had the chance. Dan Wiederer: Bears unable to come close to paying McCown market value.


Is Jordan Palmer the next Josh McCown? - Moon Mullin: With a coaching staff of Trestman, Kromer and Cavanaugh handling QBs, a career jump-restart for Palmer the kind McCown’s received perhaps shouldn’t be a total surprise if it occurs.

Following moves, CB moving up on Bears draft board - Moon Mullin: With other need areas dialed down, the thinning talent pool and huge prices commanded by starting CBs point to the Bears seeking a talented rookie to work opposite Tim Jennings.

Team notes - Rich Campbell: Jared Allen a good fit, but Bears in no hurry; Tillman, Melton visiting other teams; Ryan Mundy assigned Major Wright's number; more notes. Michael C. Wright: Rosario's release "isn’t (because of) anything he did", could return.

Dick Butkus: Bears defense is 'reparable' - Someone who knows a thing or two about playing dominant defense believes the Bears can turn things around on that side of the ball.

Photos - Take a look at life inside Halas Hall as free agent signings Lamarr Houston and Ryan Mundy tour the building on their first day as Chicago Bears. Tribune photos.

Sun-Times Bears section here.

Polish sausage

Dick Butkus talks NFL's concussion problem - Bears legend explained what he thinks can be done to help prevent concussions, but said that some of the helmet-to-helmet hits that are penalized today are simply unavoidable.

Know thy enemy: Lions - Michael Rothstein: Golden Tate signing fills pressing need for Lions opposite Calvin Johnson.

Know thy enemy: Packers - Rob Demovsky: Mike Neal's return gives Packers' defense flexibility.

Know thy enemy: Vikings - Ben Goessling: Like Everson Griffen's deal, Linval Joseph's contract won't leave the Vikings with a big bill to pay in the final years of the contract. Cassel to get $5.75M this year.