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CHICAGO (WSCR) Reports surfaced on Wednesday that the framework for a new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the players could be finalized by this weekend, and officially agreed on by July.
So before long, actually football related news may start to happen.
Once the new CBA has been reached, a short and furious free agent period will start as teams try to full out their rosters before training camp.
While teams haven’t been allowed to negotiate with free agents during the lockout, they have been able to lay out plans and strategies for once the league returns to business as usual. For the Chicago Bears, there’s likely three stages to their free agency plan.
“The first stage…is going to be: What are they going to do with their own free agents?” Brad Biggs, of the Chicago Tribune, said on the Mully and Hanley Show. “How are they going to address their own players that are on the market?
“I’d expect them to sign four or five, maybe a little bit more, of their own players back. That’s a list that’s going to include Olin Kreutz, probably Anthony Adams, Nick Roach, possibly Brian Iwuh for special teams purposes.”
Rashied Davis is also a player the Bears could potentially bring back to help out on special teams. And Biggs says that while Corey Graham was a valuable special teams player for Dave Toub, the Bears might not be able to re-sign him.
“The next stage is going to be the veteran free agent market,” Biggs said. “That’s where you talk about what kind of help your going to get.”
LISTEN: Brad Biggs On The Mully And Hanley Show
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After drafting Gabe Carimi in the first round, the Bears most pressing needs on the offensive line are at the guard positions. The Bears could look to fill that need, along with a receiver, through veteran free agents.
“And then obviously a little veteran help at linebacker,” Biggs said. “They need a punter, so there’s a couple positions there.
“And then the other phase of free agency that you have to consider is the undrafted college free agents. That’s how you get to that 80-man roster limit. Last year is a good example, they signed 14 free agents right after the draft…13 of them made it to camp, and one of them is still around.”
Levi Horn, an offensive lineman from Montana is the only undrafted free agent from last year still on the team, he spent most of last season on the practice squad.
“So of the 26 players they need to add to get to 80, I’d expect half of them, probably, to be undrafted college free agents. And I’d say they get two or three outside guys that have a legitimate shot to compete for a starting position.”