Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune reminds us of this rule. It could be a quite a restriction on the Bears in free agency depending upon what they want to do.
“Another complicating factor is the Final Eight rules. If 2010 rules are in place, the Bears and the other top seven teams in the league last season would be limited to signing one unrestricted free agent for each one they lose, and they couldn’t pay the player a lot more than what the departing player receives.”
Pompei reviews the positions on the field and what the Bears may choose to do at each of them. One of them is defensive tackle:
“The drafting of Stephen Paea alleviates the need here and also could result in Anthony Adams leaving as a free agent.
“The Bears still appear interested in bringing back Adams, but probably will not pay more than they think he’s worth. If they need to replace Adams, raiding the Packers for free agent Cullen Jenkins is an enticing option.”
I hate to see Adams go. He seems to be one of those guys who quietly gets the job done. And Cullen Jenkins is going to be a popular guy once this gets rolling. I’m thinking the Bears won’t overpay him, either.
But I think linebacker will be the position to watch:
“Lance Briggs in the only one the Bears have who is sure to be back, so the team will be looking for one or two free agents. One of them could be the starter on the strong side. Keeping Nick Roach and letting him compete for the job makes sense.
“Other players who could work for the Bears include Ben Leber, Leroy Hill and Thomas Davis.”
Roach is good enough and he can play special teams. But something tells me we’re going to see someone new on the strong side.
Let’s all just hope it gets started sometime before September.