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The Bears Den: March 23, 2016

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In today's Den, our poll is about the notorious grass surface of Soldier Field... is it time that the Bears & City of Chicago switch from the "controversial" grass field over to field turf? This, Bears news, draft & free agency updates and more in today's Den.

The demolished end-zone grass following the 2007 Bears Conference Championship win, 39-14 over the Saints
The demolished end-zone grass following the 2007 Bears Conference Championship win, 39-14 over the Saints
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

BEAR DOWN!!!!

DRAFT / FREE AGENCY

Wiltfong: Bears sign Saints TE Josh Hill to an offer sheet - Windy City Gridiron - According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Bears have signed New Orleans Saints' tight end Josh Hill to an offer sheet. As a restricted free agent, the Saints have 5 days to match the offer or he will become a member of the Bears.

Mayer: Pace talks free agency, other key issues - Before leaving for the owners meetings, Bears general manager Ryan Pace discussed free agency and other key issues with ChicagoBears.com.

Mayer: Analysts predict who Bears will draft - Several NFL analysts have updated their mock drafts after teams have addressed needs in free agency. See who they think the Bears will select in the first round.

Cox: Chicago Bears in prime position to make draft day trades - Bears Wire - The Bears have extra draft picks they can use to make some draft-day trades come late April. They also have the flexibility to move down.

Fishbain: Updating the Chicago Bears needs on defense - Chicago Football - Bears still need players on D-line, in secondary

Perez: 2016 NFL Draft prospect Jared Goff compared to Bears’ Jay Cutler - Bears Wire - An anonymous NFC scout recently compared Jared Goff to Jay Cutler, and it wasn't meant to be a compliment.

Wiltfong: Bears sign Saints TE Josh Hill to an offer sheet - Windy City Gridiron - According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Bears have signed New Orleans Saints' tight end Josh Hill to an offer sheet. As a restricted free agent, the Saints have 5 days to match the offer or he will become a member of the Bears.

BEARRRSSSS.......

Dickerson: John Fox expects better performance from Jay Cutler in 2016 - ESPN - Chicago Bears coach John Fox on starting quarterback Jay Cutler: 'I just think he is going to get better in Year 2 in our offensive system.'

Widerer: Kyle Long's return to guard just a happy happenstance for Bears - Chicago Tribune - Bears set out to acquire an offensive lineman in free agency and signing tackle Bobby Massie provided an opportunity to move Kyle Long back inside.

Wiltfong: Kevin White is 100% and other Chicago Bears tidbits - Windy City Gridiron - Here's all the latest from Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace.

Mullen: Bears have Kevin White '100 percent healthy' at this stage of '16 | CSN Chicago - After sitting out all of 2015, Kevin White is 100 percent healthy this spring and ready to hit the field hard for the Bears.

Chicago Bears still need more help on defense - The Chicago Bears have completed their biggest moves in free agency, but there's more work to do on the defensive side of the football before the NFL draft returns.

Mayer: Evans tabs Trevathan as top free agent - NFL.com analyst Heath Evans has selected new Bears inside linebacker Danny Trevathan as the NFL free agent who will provide the most bang for the buck.

Inside The Bears: Trevathan on why he picked Bears - New linebacker Danny Trevathan sits down with Lauren Screeden and discusses how Coach Fox influenced his decision to sign with the Bears.

Perez: Post-free agency odds of the Chicago Bears winning Super Bowl LI - Bears Wire - The Bears have gone a long way toward improving their roster this off-season, but did their moves improve their odds of a Super Bowl win?

Mullen: Bears' massive overhaul of 3-4 front seven to extend into draft - CSN Chicago - The Bears have completely overhauled their front seven as they moved to a 3-4 defense, but GM Ryan Pace intends to keep following that trend in the NFL Draft, too.

Mayer's Chalk Talk: How will Hicks affect Goldman’s role? - Senior writer Larry Mayer discusses how Akiem Hicks' arrival will impact Eddie Goldman, if all of the free agents the Bears signed from other teams are Day 1 starters, and more.

Perez: Bears tried trading for Dolphins’ receiver Kenny Stills last year - Bears Wire - The Chicago Bears were reportedly trying to trade for then-Saints WR Kenny Stills last year, according to Dolphins head coach Adam Gase

Inside The Bears: Fox on Navy SEAL Stepfather - Bears head coach John Fox talks about the life lessons he learned, including the importance of teamwork, from his Navy SEAL stepfather.

VIDEO: Fox, Chicago Bears working on long term Jeffery deal - ESPN - Bears head coach John Fox stops by NFL Live to talk about how Chicago is looking to lock up Alshon Jeffery to a long term contract.

Mullen: Gase's changes to Jay Cutler’s game more significant in hindsight - CSN Chicago - Jay Cutler's career year under then-offensive coordinator Adam Gase was even more significant than first recognized, writes Bears Insider John "Moon" Mullin.

Podcast: CBSSports.com's Tom Fornelli talks Bears, beats, and John Fox | Chicago Football - It's time to start talking NFL Draft, so CBSSports.com's Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) was the guest this week. A Bears fan, too, Tom talked with our Kevin Fishbain about the exits of Martellus Bennett and Shea McClellin (5:07)

BEARRRSSSS FOR LIFE......

Jahns: Jets coach says Ex-Bears RB Matt Forte has more 'left in the tank' - Chicago Sun-Times - The Jets signed Matt Forte to a three-year contract in free agency.

Mullen: Jets acted on Shakespeare’s 'scouting report' on Matt Forte - CSN Chicago - When the New York Jets signed Matt Forte, they were banking that William Shakespeare was right and the past won't weigh down the 30-year-old running back.

Campbell: Jets downplaying Matt Forte's age as they envision three-down role for him - Chicago Tribune - Although running back Matt Forte changed teams in free agency, his role with the New York Jets apparently will be similar to the extensive one he was accustomed to with the Chicago Bears.

EX-BEARRRSSSS......

Wiederer: Patriots coach Bill Belichick offers little on arrivals of Shea McClellin, Martellus Bennett - Chicago Tribune - Bill Belichick offered a dry three-minute opening statement, then continued a joyless charade in which he refused to offer any insight on any of the newest additions to his team, Martellus Bennett and Shea McClellin.

Bill Belichick on Martellus Bennett's history: 'Go ask the Bears' | CSN Chicago - The Patriots haven't been shy about taking on former Bears. But Bill Belichick wanted no part of discussing Martellus Bennett's checkered past. The Bears traded the colorful tight end in March.

POLISH SAUSAGE

Hub Arkush: The NFL's China plan is a bad idea - Chicago Football - None of us should be terribly surprised by the news The NFL is considering playing a regular season game in China as soon as the 2018 season.

Spawn Of Hub: NFL rule changes for 2016 include outlawing chop blocks & expanding horse-collar penalties - Chicago Football - NFL also makes longer extra point distance permanent

Chop blocks eliminated, PAT snaps from 15 permanent - Chicago Tribune - The chop block has been entirely outlawed from NFL games, and extra-point kicks snapped from the 15-yard line are now permanent. NFL owners voted Tuesday to approve both those proposals by the competition committee. They also passed a resolution to expand what is a horse-collar tackle to cover...

Proposed touchback change fails - ProFootballTalk - The 19 proposed rule changes for 2016 included a plan to move the touchback on a free kick from the 20 to the 25. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the measure has failed to secure the requisite 24 votes to become a new rule.

Vote: Which team should be on this season's 'Hard Knocks'? - Oakland Raiders Blog- ESPN - The Bills, Bears, Jaguars, Rams, Saints, Raiders and Chargers are eligibile to appear on HBO's "Hard Knocks." Which team should get the call?

KNOW THY ENEMY

Reisman: Browns will not be trading Joe Thomas, Ryan Clady may still be an option - Pride Of Detroit - The Detroit Lions are running low on options to upgrade the offensive line.

Gates: U.S. Bank Stadium To Open With Soccer Match - Daily Norseman - We now have word of what the first official sporting event at U.S. Bank Stadium will be, and it's a football match! Well, depending on where you're from, anyway. (EDITOR'S NOTE: To find the new stadium, turn onto Chicago Avenue and you will drive right past it...)

Hirschhorn: Packers still have plenty of cap space for rookie class, extensions - Acme Packing Company - Packers have over $15 million in cap space heading into the end of March.