Chicago Bears: Free agency

Long happy to have Allen as teammate

March, 27, 2014
Mar 27
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Kyle Long's cellphone alerted him of his team's latest major offseason addition early Wednesday morning, with texts piling up reacting to the news that his Chicago Bears had signed free-agent defensive end Jared Allen.

K. Long
Among them was a long text from his famous father, Howie Long, the television analyst and Hall of Fame defensive end who was quick to praise the signing of Allen.

"You know when a guy like that who is so well-versed in the NFL and who understands the defensive line position -- he was really fired up -- you know it's a great move," the younger Long said Thursday on the "Carmen & Jurko" show on ESPN Chicago 1000.

The Bears agreed to a four-year deal with Allen, who spent the past six seasons with the NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings. He has 128.5 career sacks.

Long, a rookie Pro Bowler at right guard last season, said he didn't like having to prepare to face Allen twice last year and now looks forward to learning from him as a teammate.

"What I can take away from Jared as an offensive lineman is his wealth of knowledge at the position and what he knows," Long said. "In conversations with Jared, I'm sure I'll learn a ton, and seeing him go against [left tackle] Jermon Bushrod and against [right tackle] Jordan Mills I'll learn a ton. I'll have my hands full with [defensive tackle] Nate Collins and whoever else they throw in front of me. But Jared Allen being in that locker room, being at the practice field, being in those meetings, you can take so much knowledge from him, and hopefully it all translates to the field."

Allen is the latest addition to a defense that has undergone a massive facelift following a disastrous 2013 season in which it ranked last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed and 30th in total defense. Of particular focus in the rebuild conducted by general manager Phil Emery has been the defensive line, which has added Allen, Lamarr Houston, Willie Young and Israel Idonije, and could be bolstered further if the Bears select a defensive tackle with the 14th pick in the first round of the draft.

"When we lost to Green Bay at the end of the year, we looked around the locker room and said this team is going to look different. Regardless, win or lose, if you win the Super Bowl or you go winless, you're going to look around and say not everybody is going to be here," Long said. "I don't think any of us understood the changes that were going to take place in the following months. It's really the light at the end of the tunnel.

"We've got all these guys coming in and we've got a revamped defense. We're very close offensively, and I think the same can be said defensively. ... Just let Phil do what he does. We all have the utmost faith in him."

Tillman's deal maxes out at $3.25M

March, 18, 2014
Mar 18
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Cornerback Charles Tillman's new one-year deal with the Chicago Bears is worth a maximum of $3.25 million, according to NFLPA records posted Tuesday morning.

Tillman
Tillman is scheduled to earn a base salary of $2.25 million in 2014, with $250,000 of that amount guaranteed in the event of injury.

The Bears have constructed the bulk of their offseason deals without signing bonuses, but Tillman did receive a $500,000 bonus when he signed with the team on Friday after an unsuccessful visit to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the beginning of free agency.

Tillman will also pocket a $100,000 workout bonus, plus a $400,000 roster bonus with the caveat that the two-time Pro Bowl defensive back is active for every game ($25,000 per game on the active 46-man game day roster.

Here is the full breakdown:

Length: One year

Total: $3.25 million

Base: $2.25 million ($250K of which guaranteed for injury)

Roster bonus: $400,000 ($25K per game on the active 46-man roster)

Workout bonus: $100,000

*There are no notes regarding incentives on the NFLPA contract records
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Boldly promising the "Monsters of the Midway are back," while evoking the names and nicknames of Bears legends Walter Payton, Gayle Sayers and Dick Butkus, Lamarr Houston welcomed himself to Chicago on Wednesday in a big way.

[+] EnlargeLamarr Houston
AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastNew Bears defensive end Lamarr Houston will wear No. 99 which previously belonged to Shea McClellin, who will now wear No. 50.
Now Bears fans are just hoping for a big impact from the 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive end signed to a five-year, $35 million contract after spending the first four years of his pro career with the Oakland Raiders.

With the release of Julius Peppers and the Bears' last-place league standing in sacks last season, general manager Phil Emery addressed that concern quickly when talking about Houston, who had a career-high six sacks last season.

"He's a good pass-rusher," Emery said. "When I looked at him versus the players that we have on our team, his two-year combined total disruptions is higher than anybody on our team. And I know I've used that word disruption and there are a lot of variations of what that means ...

"The research from 2008 on [shows] when a pass play is performed without pressure, without a knockdown, hit or sack, the percentage of completion is about 64 percent. When there's a sack, obviously it goes to 0. But with a hit or a pressure, it goes to 38.5. So those are significant when you talk about disruptions of a passer. And he certainly has had those."

And Houston, Emery emphasized, was targeted by the Bears because of his versatility, his tackle totals (tops in the NFL for defensive ends playing in the 4-3 over the past two seasons combined) and his ability to play against the run or the pass, both standing up or with his hand on the ground.

"I think that's very important," Houston said of being an all-around end. "Sack totals are important in this league and mine haven't been the highest, but I know that I will prove to everybody that there's a reason I'm here and in the future, it will tell you how good of a player I can be with this group of men and how good of a group we can be together."

What does it say that the Bears put such faith in the 26-year-old former second-round draft choice out of Texas?

"That they believe in me," Houston said. "They believe in what I can do, they have a use for my skill set, and I think doing that is only going to help me get better and improve my game."

Also introduced to the media Wednesday, safety Ryan Mundy vowed to compete for a starting spot with a physical approach to the game.

"That's been my M.O. for as long as I can remember, since I started playing football," said Mundy, who signed a two-year deal. "I'm not a guy who's going to shy away from contact. I like to get down there, mix it up with tight ends, running backs, might even run into a few linemen here and there.

"I think that's the No. 1 attribute I bring to the game. I like to use my size and strength and combine that with my athletic ability to get guys on the ground and get some third-down stops for our defense."

The 6-1, 209-pounder started just 14 of 80 games over five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants, but appeared in all of them, and started one of four postseason games he played, finishing with four tackles and two forced fumbles.

Emery said the Bears will continue to "look at safety extensively" in free agency, the draft and post-draft.

"I feel like I'm coming in here to compete for a starting opportunity, and that's all I can ask for," Mundy said. "I don't shy away from competition. I look forward to getting started with workouts and practices and everything like that. Nothing's set in stone, and I don't take anything for granted, I'm just excited about the opportunity and I'm ready to get to work."

Bears, DT Ellis agree to deal

June, 11, 2013
6/11/13
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The Chicago Bears reached agreement on a one-year deal with former New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis on Tuesday.

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Source: Bears to work out QB Russell

June, 4, 2013
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Former Oakland Raiders No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell gets his first shot at returning to the NFL on Friday when he visits the Chicago Bears for a workout that will include three other signal callers, according to an NFL source with knowledge of the situation.

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Veteran free agent defensive lineman Israel Idonije visited the Tennessee Titans on Monday, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Idonije finished second on the Chicago Bears last season with 7.5 sacks in 11 starts.

The 32-year-old versatile defensive lineman has been one of the Bears' most productive pass rushers since becoming a fixture in the starting lineup in 2010, opposite Pro Bowler Julius Peppers.

Idonije lost a little playing time last season to Corey Wootton but because of his versatility, Idonije was able to slide inside to defensive tackle when the Bears switched to their nickel defense.

A nine-year NFL veteran, Idonije has been a member of the Bears for nearly his entire career and is very active in the community. Idonije was one of three finalists for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2010.

The Bears re-signed Idonije to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million last offseason. While the Bears have expressed interest in Idonije returning, it's believed he would have to accept less money to remain in Chicago.

Ex-Bears OL Louis signs with Dolphins

March, 27, 2013
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MIAMI -- Offensive lineman Lance Louis, still rehabilitating from a season-ending knee injury, signed Wednesday with the Miami Dolphins.

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Bears add LB James Anderson

March, 24, 2013
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The Chicago Bears on Sunday agreed to terms with linebacker James Anderson, who was released by the Carolina Panthers earlier this month.

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Source: Bears sign ex-Broncos LB Williams

March, 22, 2013
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears signed former Denver Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams to a one-year contract on Friday, a source confirmed to ESPNChicago.com.

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Urlacher: We'll find out if anyone wants me

March, 22, 2013
3/22/13
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A free agent for the first time in his 13-year career, former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said Friday "maybe nobody wants me" but he still is happy to talk to other teams.

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Bears sign ex-Chiefs TE Maneri

March, 21, 2013
3/21/13
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Steve Maneri Kim Klemen/-USA TODAY SportsSteve Maneri played the past two seasons for the Chiefs.
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears signed blocking tight end Steve Maneri to a two-year deal, the team announced on Thursday.

The Bears, Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys were the most aggressive in their pursuit of Maneri, while the Cincinnati Bengals showed varying degrees of interest, according to a league source.

(Read full post)

Report: Bears offer CB Munnerlyn deal

March, 20, 2013
3/20/13
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears have offered Carolina Panthers free agent cornerback Captain Munnerlyn a one-year contract, according to a report in the Charlotte Observer.

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Bears part ways with Urlacher

March, 20, 2013
3/20/13
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The Chicago Bears are moving forward without Brian Urlacher after both sides were unable to reach an agreement on a free-agent deal, the team announced Wednesday.

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Bears add DE McBride

March, 20, 2013
3/20/13
12:16
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The Chicago Bears and free agent defensive end Turk McBride agreed to a one-year deal on Tuesday.

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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears and Houston Texans are the frontrunners to land former Kansas City Chiefs blocking tight end Steve Maneri, a league source told ESPNChicago.com.

The Chicago Tribune first reported the Bears' interest in Maneri.

Maneri started eight games and played over 400 snaps for the Chiefs last season.

The Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys have also expressed interest in the 6-foot-6, 280-pound tight end, but the Bears and Texans have been the most aggressive suitors, the source said.

Maneri, a college teammate with Bears second-year tight end Evan Rodriguez at Temple University, did not receive an exclusive rights free agent tender from the Chiefs.

The Bears are looking to replace blocking tight end Matt Spaeth who signed a two-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday after visiting the Bengals last week. Another ex-Bears tight end Kellen Davis is now believed to be under consideration by the Bengals, who are clearly interested in adding a blocking tight end in free agency.

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