Now that Bears general manager Phil Emery has taken steps to retain three of his own free agents (Tim Jennings, Josh McCown, Kellen Davis), one of the next orders of in-house business should be to re-sign safety Craig Steltz.
Steltz has been a valuable asset on special teams for Dave Toub since he was selected by the Bears in the fourth round of the 2008 draft. The defensive back also proved to be a capable defender when he started the final four games of 2011.
Steltz finished the year with 48 tackles, 2 forced fumbles and a sack in just five total starts.
Given the injury histories of both Major Wright and Chris Conte, Steltz might find himself in a position to compete for serious playing time if he returns to Chicago. He would probably enter training camp as No. 3 of No. 4 on the depth chart, but if the Bears stage of true competition for the starting job, there is no telling if Steltz could unseat Wright, or if Wright can even stay healthy.
Although the Bears could probably bring back Steltz on a modest deal, it was be a wise investment moving forward.