The 2014 free agent period is going to be interesting for the Chicago Bears, especially when it comes to their own players. Who among the top names will stay and who are likely gone?
Henry Melton – DT – Status: Out
Retaining the younger players is obviously at the forefront for the Bears but Henry Melton is a special case. He’s coming off a torn ACL, was arrested for assault and in all likelihood will still demand a fair amount of money. Throw in the fact he might have serious interest in playing for Dallas, his home city for his former coach Rod Marinelli and the Bears may be better off saving the cash.
Charles Tillman – CB – Status: Out
If it were four years ago this decision would be easy but after an injury-plagued year and turning 33 years old, Charles Tillman is at a crossroads. When healthy he showed he could still play but the veteran has not committed to a return, saying he’s more than willing to go elsewhere if the price doesn’t matchup. Having already locked up Tim Jennings, the Bears should think about filling Tillman’s spot with a young talent.
Corey Wootton – DE – Status: In
Even if they don’t cut Julius Peppers, Chicago has to make Corey Wootton a priority. He is the best, young defensive end they have and his loss would leave the position dangerously thin what with Shea McClellin moving to linebacker. Wootton is not a star but he’s capable, dedicated and gets his share of impact plays.
D.J. Williams – MLB – Status: In
The Bears gave him a chance last year but injuries were a constant problem for D.J. Williams. He missed the entire preseason with one, managed to start the regular season and began to play better, then tore his pectoral that ended his season after six games. Will he accept another cheap one-year deal to stay? If so the Bears should take it and focus on bolstering other areas.
Roberto Garza – C – Status: In
The one constant in an ever-shifting sea of offensive linemen, Roberto Garza is not the player he was but he is still an able veteran who brings excellent leadership up front. He’s 35 so any long-term deal is out of the question but the Chicago Bears brass should understand he can help them for another year while they groom a replacement.
Major Wright – SS – Status: Out
Safety became a scapegoat of sorts among Bears fans late in the 2013 season. Chris Conte absorbed the bulk of the ire for his performance in the final game against Green Bay but Major Wright got his share of the blame as well. While he has played well in spurts for the Bears, his consistency has been a constant issue, not to mention his lack of improvement. Expect him to find a home somewhere else.
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