The Bears have been active in retooling a defense that struggled in 2013, already adding a number of pieces to a unit that fell behind the offense for one of the few times in team history. The revamping on the defensive side of the ball does not necessarily have room for some of the Bears recent defensive stalwarts.
Julius Peppers was already released, and is now looking to free agency for his next contract. Henry Melton, who was involved in an altercation that has led to a civil suit being filed against him, has been visiting with teams but has yet to receive a substantial offer. The Bears could still utilize him, writes Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com, but his legal issues make his return to the team uncertain. Bears general manager Phil Emery spoke about where Melton currently stands with the organization:
“We pretty much left it with [agent] Jordan [Woy] that he was gonna go through this process, and when he got through it and he had a pretty good idea of what his market is, we could talk at that time,” Emery said. “Of course, the clock is ticking. So our resources or what we have at the time may have changed. But we’ll see where we’re at when that’s all finished.”
Charles Tillman struggled with injuries in 2013, missing eight games due to torn triceps. Even still, Tillman has been a tremendous talent, arguably the best defensive back in team history according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com. The 33-year-old cornerback was disappointed that he did not receive a contract extension to keep him with the team.
He has been taking visits, garnering little interest from around the league. He was closely linked to the Buccaneers, but the signing of Alterraun Verner diminishes his value to the team. The Bears have not ruled out the idea that Tillman could return.
“No different than yesterday,” Emery said. “It’s an ongoing process.”
Dickerson writes that Tillman still has a chance to make an impression on a short-term deal with the Jaguars, Panthers, Cowboys, and Redskins if he is not open to returning to the Bears.