Chicago Bears: free agents

Brandon Manumaleuna to visit Bears

March, 5, 2010
CHICAGO -- Free agent tight end Brandon Manumaleuna is scheduled to visit the Chicago Bears Friday, a source close to the player confirmed.

Manumaleuna is known for his blocking ability, and previously played for Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz as a member of the St. Louis Rams.

If the Bears sign Manumaleuna, they face a tough decision at tight end. There's no guarantee Greg Olsen is going to be traded, so if Olsen sticks, it may come down to veteran Desmond Clark or former fifth-round pick Kellen Davis. Although Clark is a much more decorated and accomplished player, Davis is considerably younger, and carries with him draft status distinction.

Manumaleuna is one of three players expected to visit Friday, along with defensive end Julius Peppers and running back Chester Taylor.

Bears would be a good fit for Peppers

March, 5, 2010
When a desirable free agent enters the building on a visit, teams almost always try to make sure he doesn't leave without signing a contract.

That must be -- and no doubt is -- the Bears’ strategy with Julius Peppers Friday at Halas Hall.

When you think about it from Peppers' perspective, if the money is good, Chicago is a nice fit for the five-time Pro Bowler.

He gets to keep playing in a 4-3 defense -- a major flaw with other suitors like Washington and New England -- while at the same time working for a very player-friendly head coach Lovie Smith, who goes out of his way to protect his stars.

And Peppers will be treated like a star.

The Bears haven't had a player with double-digit sacks since 2006, which ironically enough, was the last time this group made the playoffs.

It's going to be impossible for Peppers to completely live up to the enormous salary he's due to receive, but as long as the defensive end posts at least 10 sacks in 2010, most Bears fans will consider this probable acquisition a success. I still wonder how Peppers will react to his huge payday, but it's tough to fault the Bears for aggressively targeting the top free agent on the market.

Another major coup is having free agent running back Chester Taylor visit Halas Hall Friday. Taylor is the ideal complement to Matt Forte, especially because of his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, which is a skill any back playing for Mike Martz must possess. However, inking Taylor to a new deal might not be such a foregone conclusion, especially since a source close to Taylor stressed late Thursday night this is just a visit.

Regardless, the Bears are off to a roaring start in free agency, and if they can close to deal Friday, fans will have plenty of reasons to celebrate over the weekend.

Julius Peppers to visit Bears on Friday

March, 4, 2010
CHICAGO -- Prized free agent defensive end Julius Peppers is expected to visit the Chicago Bears on Friday, a source familiar with the situation confirmed.

The visit was first reported by the Chicago Tribune.

Peppers' presence in Chicago Friday indicates the Bears are in position to land the biggest free agent on the market.

On paper, Peppers -- a five-time Pro Bowler -- would instantly upgrade the Bears' defense, providing head coach Lovie Smith with a pass rush force the unit has lacked since the Super Bowl year of 2006.

Peppers has recorded double-digit sacks in six of his eight professional seasons in Carolina, reaching the quarterback 10.5 times in 2009, along with two interceptions and five forced fumbles.

Chester Taylor to visit with Chicago Bears

March, 4, 2010
Chester Taylor is set to visit the Chicago Bears on Friday, a league source confirmed.

Taylor is considered to be the top free agent running back. He was used mainly as a third-down back as a complement to Adrian Peterson with the Minnesota Vikings in recent seasons.

Taylor also has displayed excellent ability as a receiver, a prerequisite for playing running back in a Mike Martz system.

Despite being in the league since 2002, Taylor only has 1,028 career regular season rushing attempts.