Bears Notes: Free Agents, Earl Mitchell

The Bears have some time to gauge the market values of free agents to be, which will be important in their plans on how to proceed come Tuesday, writes Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun Times. They will be able to evaluate whether they can be in the mix for big name free agents such as Michael Bennett or T.J. Ward, but also if they have the resources to re-sign their own players, such as Henry Melton, Charles Tillman, and Josh McCown.

The planning will also decide whether the team plans to release defensive end Julius Peppers or to renegotiate his contract, as his $18.2MM cap figure will not be a figure the Bears are comfortable paying him.

Here are some other notes about the Bears’ offseason:

  • Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes that if the Bears are unable to retain Henry Melton, a potential replacement could be found in Texans’ defensive tackle Earl Mitchell (via Twitter).
  • Dan Weiderer and Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune put together a guide to free agency for the Bears. They highlighted some important in-house options the team should look to hold on to, including Melton, Tillman and McCown. Jordan Palmer, who was the team’s third quarterback last year, could return as Jay Cutler‘s backup in 2014. They do note that while the Bears could look to replace Peppers, they most likely would not cut him until they had a potential replacement lined up.
  • For Weiderer and Campbell, there are a number of free agents the team should chase in free agency, highlighting Bennett and Mitchell could be great choices. Other big name free agents in the secondary could bring the Bears to pursue Jairus Byrd, T.J. Ward, Aqib Talib or Alterraun Verner. They also could see the Bears investing in cheaper options, highlighting Jason Hatcher, who has experience with defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni.
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