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CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 16: Corey Graham #21 of the Chicago Bears reacts against the Seattle Seahawks in the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Corey Graham
The Bears had one of the league's best defenses in 2010, but don't expect to see the exact same D on the field in 2011. Several key players on D and special teams will test free agency during the off-season, and the Bears can't afford to keep them all.
Of course, without a collective bargaining agreement, this entire post could be a moot point. The current CBA runs out on Mar. 4, and there are no signs that the owners and players union are going to reach an agreement by then. If there is no CBA, expect a lockout.
But, in case there is a free agent market this spring, these are the Bears who will be on it.
Anthony Adams -- After a slow start, Adams proved his value to the Bears while splitting time with Henry Melton on the D-line. He was one of the few Bears to have a good game against New England, notching four tackles and a sack. Unfortunately, he is smaller and older than Henry Melton. If the free agent market drives up his price, don't expect him to say.
Danieal Manning and Josh Bullocks -- Manning is a versatile player -- breaking up passes in the secondary while also adding to the Bears dominance on kickoffs, averaging just under 25 yards per return. He is a definite keeper. Bullocks, has done a good job as Manning's back-up and on special teams, but he isn't someone the Bears need to chase after.
Pisa Tinoisamoa and Nick Roach -- When healthy, Tinoisamoa can be a force among the Bears Pro Bowl linebackers, but he is injured often. Nick Roach has progressed nicely as a linebacker, and is younger than Tinoisamoa. If it comes down to a choice, the Bears will likely stick with Roach.
Brian Iwuh and Rod Wilson -- The reason why the Bears are so strong at linebacker is because they are deep at linebacker. Iwuh and Wilson provide that depth as well as a boost on special teams. However, if they can get a chance to start for another team, don't expect to see them in navy and orange next season.
Corey Graham -- Graham is the best man on special teams. Devin Hester would be nowhere without his blocking, and Graham's tackles on special teams accounted for 16.5 percent of the Bears special teams stops. But excelling on special teams is kind of like being the best player on a minor league baseball team. Graham is truly a cornerback and wants the chance to show off skills on defense, something he couldn't do for the Bears playing behind Charles "Peanut" Tillman and D.J. Moore. Don't be shocked if another team snaps him up.