BY JEFF DICKERSON
CHICAGO -- Last year's quick signing of Frank Omiyale showed the Bears aren't necessarily always in the market for big-name free agents. That may again hold true this spring, since a likely uncapped year in 2010 has dramatically reduced the amount of talent available on the open market.
When it comes to free agency, the Bears’ major needs are as follows: defensive end, wide receiver, running back, guard and cornerback.
The Bears also need help at the safety position, but after going through the NFLPA Projected 2010 Free Agents packet, only two names make much sense: Darren Sharper and Ryan Clark. We already know Sharper is not a fan of playing in a Cover 2 defense, plus he might be given the franchise tag by New Orleans, so he is probably out of the mix. Clark would be an instant upgrade in the defensive backfield, and is known for his ferocious hitting style. It's unclear whether Pittsburgh can afford to keep two high paid safeties (Clark and Troy Polamalu), but Clark has publicly expressed a desire to return to the Steel City.
Since the Bears always feel they can find a safety in the draft, we would not be surprised if that's the route they take when it comes to filling this need. All the top safeties are restricted free agents -- Antoine Bethea, Nick Collins, Roman Harper, O.J. Atogwe and Bernard Pollard -- and likely off-limits to the Bears.
Taking safety out of the free-agent equation, here are some unrestricted free agents who may be worth looking at.
**Note -- This list can change due to roster cuts, franchise tags, etc.
Julius Peppers -- Carolina Panthers
Aaron Kampman -- Green Bay Packers
Leonard Little -- St. Louis Rams
Kyle Vanden Bosch -- Tennessee Titans
Derrick Burgess -- New England Patriots **Naturally a 4-3 defensive end, but played OLB in Pats 3-4 scheme.
Jarvis Green -- New England Patriots ** A bigger end (285 pounds) in Pats 3-4 scheme.
Antonio Bryant -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Josh Reed -- Buffalo Bills
Terrell Owens -- Buffalo Bills
Kevin Walter -- Houston Texans
Mike Furrey -- Cleveland Browns
Chris Chambers -- Kansas City Chiefs
Derrick Mason -- Baltimore Ravens
Leigh Bodden -- New England Patriots
Dunta Robinson -- Houston Texans
Anthony Henry -- Detroit Lions
Brian Williams -- Atlanta Falcons
Ken Lucas -- Seattle Seahawks
Dre' Bly - San Francisco Forty-Niners