Tuesday is an important day in the NFL, as teams can now legally contact free-agents-to-be in the hours before the new league year begins on Thursday.
For a team like the Chicago Bears, the opening of this negotiating window is critical, because they have a lot of salary cap space and a lot of holes to fill, and thanks to those factors, they are being tied to a slew of different players.
With that in mind, we are here to round up all of the rumors surrounding the Bears and what direction they may go once contracts can officially be signed later this week.
Naturally the biggest and loudest rumors around the Bears focus on the quarterback position, and even though the team can’t cut or trade Jay Cutler yet, as he hasn’t been cleared to return after his shoulder injury, there are a lot of whispers that the team has one guy in particular circled on their wish list to replace him.
According to multiple reporters, including NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Bears are making a “major push” to sign free agent quarterback Mike Glennon this offseason. Glennon, who was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, could generate some interest throughout the league, but at least one report suggests that the Bears could be alone in their pursuit of his services.
The Bears have made some big strides on defense, as they’ve improved their front seven dramatically over the last few seasons, but their secondary remains a big question mark, and they have at least one player on their radar to help that beleaguered group.
According to multiple reports, the Bears are looking at former Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore in free agency. Gilmore, who was released by the Bills recently, set a career high for interceptions last season, as he snagged five passes in 15 starts for the Bulls. In 68 career games, Gilmore has 14 interceptions and one fumble recovery, and he has defended a total of 62 passes in five seasons in the league.
The 27-year old is right up Ryan Pace’s alley, as he’s still a young player with some upside at a position of need.
Another position that the Bears could be looking to upgrade at is the tackle spot, as the center of their offensive line seems largely settled with Josh Sitton, Cody Whitehair, and Kyle Long in the fold.
According to the Sporting News, one of the players that the Bears could be looking at would be right tackle Rick Wagner. The Baltimore Ravens lineman is expected to be one of the top offensive line prizes in this year’s free agent class, and the Bears could certainly use him as a plug in a position where they’ve had a rotating cast of characters for several seasons.
The Bears could be faced with the prospect of losing Alshon Jeffery in free agency this spring, but if they do, then there is at least one wide receiver that they’re keeping an eye on in the open market.
That receiver is Andre Holmes, formerly of the Oakland Raiders. In 65 career games, Holmes has 102 receptions for 1462 yards and 12 touchdowns, and the Bears look at him as a potential threat in the vertical passing game, as he stands 6-foot-5.
There are also other teams interested in him, according to Chicago Sun-Times scribe Adam Jahns, but the Bears will have some other options as well, as re-signing Jeffery could still conceivably happen, and players like Torrey Smith are also going to be hitting the free agent market this week.