The Chicago Bears have stunned pundits and fans alike with some of their moves this offseason, most notably with the Jared Allen signing, and on Monday, they made another move that may have caught some people off-guard.
That signing was the agreement reached with long-snapper Chad Rempel, who the Bears signed to a three-year contract. The deal represents a reunion between Rempel and head coach Marc Trestman, as they were teamed up with the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League, but more importantly it could potentially mean that the Bears are getting ready for life after Patrick Mannelly in the special teams phase of the game.
Mannelly had surgery on his hip earlier this offseason, and according to reports, he is still at least a few months away from being done with his rehab. Despite his recovery from injury, it appears that the long-time Bear will either be with the team next season, or will retire.
Whatever Mannelly decides to do, he has earned the right to decide the next step in his career. He'll likely at least battle for the role with Rempel if the team brings him back, but it seems unlikely that the team will keep two long-snappers on the roster going into the regular season.
The Bears have already cut loose some long-time players in recent years, with Brian Urlacher getting shown the door last season and Devin Hester heading out of town after the 2013 season. The team likely won't want a similar situation to occur with Mannelly, who holds the distinction of being the longest-tenured member of the team in franchise history. They'll likely let him decide his own future in his time and on his terms, and despite the signing of Rempel, we may not have seen the last of Mannelly in a Bears uniform.