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The Bears Den: March 19, 2014 - Chicago Bears offseason news & notes

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Safety signing Danny McCray reunites with Matt Forte.

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Ronald Martinez

Idonije happy to return home to Bears - Larry Mayer: The Bears continued to bolster their defense Tuesday, this time with a familiar face when they agreed to terms with versatile lineman Israel Idonije. [Video] and photos from ChicagoBears.com.

Bears add safeties Steltz, McCray - Larry Mayer: The Bears on Tuesday bolstered their secondary by agreeing to terms on one-year contracts with safeties Craig Steltz and Danny McCray, two former LSU teammates. Steltz and McCray photos from ChicagoBears.com.

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Bears roster news: Izzy, Steltz, McCray in; Melton, Earl Bennett out.

Henry Melton signing with Cowboys - Larry Mayer: Free agent DT Henry Melton has left the Bears to join the Dallas Cowboys. Bob LeGere: Will help fill a gaping hole for Cowboys, if healthy.

Cowboys reach agreement with Henry Melton - Todd Archer: Melton can make up to $5M this year. If he is on the roster the first day of the 2015 league year, he'll get $9M guaranteed on the team's three-year option, which averages $8M per season.

Bears weren't willing to overpay for Melton - Michael C. Wright: Question marks on and off the field too significant for the cap-strapped Bears to feel comfortable making another major investment in him.

Bears release Earl Bennett - Larry Mayer: The Bears on Tuesday terminated the contract of veteran WR Earl Bennett, who appeared in 78 games with 29 starts in six seasons with the team. Jeff Dickerson: Declined to trim salary for a second consecutive year.

Roster news - Bob LeGere: Bears bring back Idonije to help D-line; Earl Bennett released; competition added at safety.

Idonije return casts doubt over Wootton's future with Bears - Moon Mullin: Not all of the 8 DEs on the roster will be there on Opening Day, but the money invested in Houston and Young close doors for Wootton.

Bears ask Weems to take pay cut - Jeff Dickerson: The Bears have asked veteran returner/WR Eric Weems to take a pay cut from the $1.1 million total salary he is scheduled to earn in 2014.

McManis could be back with Bears - Brad Biggs: The Bears remain in talks with Sherrick McManis and the CB / core special teams player could return to the team soon.

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Bearsss

Free agency review - Michael C. Wright with a review of the Bears' free agency period thus far. Who were the biggest gains and losses, and what's next? [Written before Melton's departure.]

Bears staying busy as free agency continues - Chris Boden: There may be another cost-efficient veteran or two on the way, but now it’s up to finding immediate contributors (and eventual long-term starters) from what will be Emery's third, and most important, draft class.

Roster notes - Jeff Dickerson: Charles Tillman's deal with Bears maxes out at $3.25M.

Mock Draft - Pete Prisco's mock v5.0 has the Bears taking Alabama safety Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix: "Nobody they signed in free agency is the long-term answer. They need help in a big way at safety."

Mock Draft - Charles Davis' mock draft 4.0 has the Bears taking Timmy Jernigan: "It might be a passing league, but people took the land route vs Da Bears. The shoring-up process starts here."

Mannelly receives Ed Block Courage Award - Larry Mayer: The award recipients, who are voted for by their teammates, symbolize professionalism, great strength and dedication, and they are considered community role models.

The Game drafts Jerry Angelo as football insider - Robert Feder: Former Bears GM Jerry Angelo is joining The Game 87.7 FM as lead football insider with David Kaplan and David Haugh.

Sun-Times Bears section here.

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Polish sausage

Roger Goodell's Jim Irsay problem - Peter King: The Colts owner faces four felony counts of possessing a controlled substance and a DWI charge. Will the commissioner be the same disciplinarian when punishing one of his bosses?

Familiarity can dictate where free agents may land - Jason La Canfora shocks you. I was shocked.

Know thy enemy: Lions - Michael Rothstein's Free-agency review. Tate fits the Lions' profile as WR ... Lions know they need to improve defense.

Know thy enemy: Packers - Rob Demovsky's Free-agency review. Packers could get involved with Hester [He wants $4M/year??? - Den] ... still in good salary-cap shape.

Know thy enemy: Vikings - Ben Goessling's Free-agency review. Vikings need RB depth after Gerhart's exit ... Vikings' D-line options beyond Melton.

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