Welcome to free agency in the NFL. Free agency itself doesn't begin until Tuesday, but the legal tampering period (where teams can talk to players' agents) began yesterday.
Of course, the biggest news of the Bears' "tampering" period may have already happened with the trade of Brandon Marshall on Friday to the New York Jets for a fifth round pick. Initially, the move didn't sit well with me, but the draft and free agency do have some options out there to add another decent weapon or two, and it's not like the Bears don't already have talented pass-catchers elsewhere (Matt Forte, Martellus Bennett in addition to Alshon Jeffery).
But for the next couple days, we'll be tracking the rumors as they come in, and we'll either be updating this post or doing up independent posts (in addition to updating this one), so keep an eye here as we progress into a very critical phase of the Bears' offseason.
Chris Conte Not Expected to Return [Link]
Which is fine. Conte is an acceptable enough safety when he's on the field, but being on the field has been a problem - he's been very injury prone, especially over last season, and he may find himself on a one-year "Prove you can stay healthy" deal. And for "an acceptable enough safety," being brittle as snow-soaked cardboard doesn't ensure a starting job.
The Bears just don't have enough defensive linemen for a 3-4 currently, so we'd kind of figured this.
These could be good fit. The 4-3 market will definitely be looking for his services. Speaking of looking for services:
One market that I have confidence the #Bears will get good value? Outside Linebacker, specifically edge rushers. Market flooded.— Aaron Leming (@AaronLemingNFL) March 8, 2015
McCourty at 9 sounds high, but I'd be fine with it in the end if it meant bringing a solidifying player to the safety position.
EDIT: McCourty was re-signed by the Pats.
Let's add an actual piece of Bears' news:
If Slauson's back at 2013 form for a full year, the offensive line gets that much stronger up the middle.
Speaking of strength up the middle, reports have the Miami Dolphins landing long time Bears' nemesis Ndamukong Suh. With Suh leaving the Detroit Lions for a reported 6 year/$114 million with $60 million guaranteed, the Lions have a huge void in the middle of their D.
The Buccaneers are interested in another of the Bears' rivals, as rumors circulate that Tampa Bay is after Green Bay RT Brian Bulaga.
The Bears are one of a few teams that are interested in pass rusher Jerry Hughes. Last year he played DE for the Bills, but with the Bears he would probably play OLB. The 6'2", 253 pound Hughes does have experience playing OLB in a 3-4 defense. The odds seem to be in favor of him staying in Buffalo.
The Bears are also in on one of John Fox's former players from Denver.
Source: Teams showing 'serious interest' in impending unrestricted free agent DT Terrance 'Pot Roast' Knighton include OAK, WAS, IND & CHI.— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 8, 2015
I still think Knighton will come down to the highest bidder and that the Raiders are his likely destination.
Devin McCourty, the top safety on the market, has decided to stay with the New England Patriots. Bears' fans now shift gears to either Rahim Moore or Da'Norris Searcy, or perhaps both.
There could be another veteran quarterback in Chicago.
Several teams expect Shaun Hill wind up in Chicago.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) March 9, 2015
Shaun Hill threw for 1,657 yards last year for the Rams in 9 games and he has made 34 starts in his 9 year career.
ESPN mentioned Chicago as a possibility for Percy Harvin once he's released by the Jets.
The Bears appear to have interest in Oakland Raiders center Stefen Wisniewski. Chicago gave center Roberto Garza a 1 year extension a couple months ago, but that was by former GM Phil Emery. The soon to be 26 year old Wisniewski has started all 61 games he has appeared in the last 4 seasons. PFF had him graded just behind the 21st ranked Garza in 2014.
There were some rumblings that the 49ers were shopping QB Colin Kaepernick with a trade to the Bears a possibility, but Niner brass has shot down the rumors.
For those Bears' fans that were hoping that linebacker Patrick Willis would end up reuniting in Chicago with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio...
Source: the #49ers are bracing themselves for the loss of LB Patrick Willis. Expecting him to retire.— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) March 9, 2015
And now it seems 49ers' DL Justin Smith is also retiring...
Bears may have identified a safety target;
@JenLada He's one of their top targets and Bears appear 2B frontrunner for his services.— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) March 9, 2015
And an inside linebacker;
As we've said since last month, Bears are definitely interested in Mason Foster, too.— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) March 9, 2015
Mason Foster played mostly middle linebacker for the Buccaneers the last 4 years, starting 54 games during that time. I speculated that Foster could be a possible Bears target back in January.
Now former Bears DT Stephen Paea has announced he will sign with the Washington Redskins.
The Bears are one of a few teams that are interested in Green Bay corner Davon House.
And since this is the rumor post, I'll pass this one along.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Source: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bears?src=hash">#Bears</a> actively shopping Cutler, would move him for "reasonable return." Offers to this point have underwhelmed.</p>— Dan Bernstein (@dan_bernstein) <a href="https://twitter.com/dan_bernstein/status/575008044154765313">March 9, 2015</a></blockquote>
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We'll keep updating throughout the day as new stuff happens. Stay tuned...