When the lockout ends, the Bears will have to squeeze months worth of free agency work into weeks, as they have to sign 26 players just to get up to training camp numbers. According to the Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs, a deal between the owners and players in the coming weeks could mean an insane July for Bears staff:
Consider right now the Bears have only two-thirds of the players they will take to training camp on their 80-man roster. Yes, that includes the draft picks from April that are not under contract. It also includes the players like wide receiver Andy Fantuz and punter Richmond McGee, who signed reserve/futures contracts that are binding but do not take effect until the first day of the new league year.
Wide receiver is the position that the Bears are expected to address in free agency. Plaxico Burress, Mike Sims-Walker, Terrell Owens and even Randy Moss have been discussed as possible Bears, but there is a free agent receiver who would logically fit in with the Bears and Mike Martz's offensive scheme: veteran Redskin wideout Santana Moss.
As Washington's top receiver, Moss had 1,115 yards over 93 catches in 2010. He's 12th among active receivers in yardage, and his height and speed fit in well with Martz's favorite types of receiver. In his career playing for the Jets and Redskins, he's had four different head coaches, meaning four different schemes. Learning Martz's won't be as difficult for him as it would be for a young, untested wideout. He has even contributed on kick and punt returns, and if the Bears don't re-sign Danieal Manning, Devin Hester could use the help.
But it's not all rosy, as Moss doesn't want to leave Washington. That means he'll command a high price, and last season, the Bears have committed a boatload of cash to Julius Peppers and (sigh) Chester Taylor.
When free agency does start, the Bears will have to move quickly, but it makes sense for the team to spend the shortened off-season going after Moss.