Bears Free Agency Tracker: Latest News And Updates
(CBS) — The latest news regarding Chicago Bears free agency from across the internet:
Wednesday, March 12
4:59 p.m. — Free agent defensive end Mike Neal tweeted that he will re-sign with Green Bay for another two years, taking a pass rusher off the board that the Bears were rumored to have been considering.
4:56 p.m. — Bears general manager Phil Emery confirmed Chicago has interest in defensive end Jared Allen. Now, the Bears will wait for the market to settle, writes Adam Hoge.
4:07 p.m. — At the press conference introducing the new Bears, Chicago general manager Phil Emery addressed quarterback Josh McCown’s signing with Tampa Bay, saying he was “very happy” for him. “We all want to congratulate Josh,” Emery said. “He has been provided with a great opportunity to be a starter down there in Tampa. We’re very happy for him and very proud for you him. Obviously, we look forward to competing against him on the field, but very happy for him that he has had this opportunity. That’s what I talked about post season about that Josh has earned the right and the respect to be given the opportunity to go and look, and he found that opportunity, and we’re very happy for him.”
2:00 p.m. – The Buccaneers confirmed cornerback Charles Tillman visited the team.
1:15 p.m. – Josh McCown has signed a two-year deal with the Buccaneers, according to his agent. Details on the deal can be found here.
1:09 p.m. – According to Ian Rapoport, Henry Melton will visit the Minnesota Vikings Thursday. The Cowboys are also still interested.
12:37 p.m. — The Bucs have delayed their free agent introduction press conference, Jason La Canfora reports, because they’re pushing to add quarterback Josh McCown and offensive tackle Anthony Collins. La Canfora tweets there’s a “very good chance” those moves happen, meaning it’s likely that McCown won’t re-sign with the Bears. The Tribune’s Brad Biggs said on the McNeil and Spiegel Show that he’d be “surprised” to see McCown return to Chicago. McCown has expressed a desire to compete for a starting job, an opportunity he’d have in Tampa Bay.
12:33 p.m. — The Bears have signed safety M.D. Jennings to a one-year contract, the team announced. Jennings played for the Packers last season, starting all 16 games and recording 59 tackles and a sack. Read Hoge’s full breakdown here. Jennings is the second safety the Bears have signed in as many days. They inked Ryan Mundy on Tuesday.
11:54 a.m. – The Seahawks have released defensive end Chris Clemons, according to the NFL Network’s Albert Breer, meaning another pass rusher is on the market. the 32-year-old Clemons had 4.5 sacks for Seattle last season but recorded at least 11 each of the previous three years. By all indications, the Bears are still in search of another defensive end.
11:10 a.m. – According to Ian Rapoport, defensive end Jared Allen is willing to retire if he doesn’t get “his fair value.”
11:00 a.m. – The Bears announced new defensive end Lamarr Houston will wear No. 99, which means Shea McClellin will change numbers. McClellin could wear a number in the 90s or 50s, but according to the Bears, he wants a number in the 50s. Right now, Nos. 50, 52 and 54 are available. Meanwhile, safety Ryan Mundy will wear No. 21, which was previously worn by Major Wright.
10:29 a.m. – The Bears are still scouring the open market for defensive ends. Chicago could target Mike Neal, the Tribune’s Brad Biggs reported. Neal played the past four seasons for the Packers, starting 10 games last season and recording 47 tackles and five sacks.
9:11 a.m. – NFLNetwork’s Ian Rapoport reported that defensive end Jared Allen is visiting the Denver Broncos today.
8:05 a.m. – Defensive end DeMarcus Ware is visiting the Denver Broncos today, according to Adam Schefter. Numerous reports have indicated that Ware is likely to land with the Broncos.
6:00 a.m. – Defensive end Justin Tuck is visiting the Oakland Raiders today, according to Adam Schefter.
Tuesday, March 11
11:28 p.m. – Adam Hoge reports new Bears special teamer Jordan Senn is on a one-year minimum salary benefit deal. He has a base salary of $730,000 with a $65,000 roster bonus. None of it is guaranteed and the cap hit is only $570,000.
10:21 p.m. – According to numerous reports, former Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib has agreed to a six-year, $57 million contract ($26 million guaranteed) with the Denver Broncos.
9:56 p.m. – Brad Biggs doesn’t believe the Bears “are in play” for Jared Allen.
9:29 p.m. – The Bears and Seahawks are talking to former Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, Adam Schefter reports.
8:40 p.m. – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced they have signed Pro Bowl cornerback Alterraun Verner. This may impact whether or not Charles Tillman ends up in Tampa.
8:40 p.m. – The New Orleans Saints announced they signed safety Jairus Byrd to a six-year contract.
6:13 p.m. – Julius Peppers has officially been released by the Bears. He started all 64 games in his four seasons with the Bears, recording 38 sacks in that time. The move will free up about $9.8 million for the Bears in 2014 cap space. Click here for the full story.
6:04 p.m. – It appears the Cowboys and Henry Melton could be nearing a deal. Dallas Cowboys columnist Jeff Sullivan tweets it could happen quickly.
5:40 p.m. – Yahoo!’s Rand Getlin reports the Bears are in discussions with wide receiver Dominik Hixon, although the Panthers want to keep him.
5:37 p.m. – The Buccaneers confirmed quarterback Josh McCown is in Tampa on a visit tonight.
5:27 p.m. – Brad Biggs reports former Panthers safety Mike Mitchell will sign with the Steelers. The Bears reportedly had interest over the weekend.
4:37 p.m. – The Bears officially signed safety Ryan Mundy to a two-year deal. Adam Hoge breaks down the signing here. The Houston (breakdown here) and Williams (breakdown here) deals are also official now.
4:27 p.m. – The Bears announced the signing of linebacker Jordan Senn to a one-year contract. Zach Zaidman tweets he was the Carolina Panthers’ special teams captain last year.
4:16 p.m. – The Broncos will sign former Browns safety T.J. Ward, according to Ian Rapoport.
4:11 p.m. – The Bears are close to finalizing a deal with former Giants safety Ryan Mundy, Brad Biggs reports.
3:25 p.m. — The Bears have re-signed linebacker D.J. Williams to a one-year deal, CBSChicago.com has confirmed. He will have the inside track to start at middle linebacker.
3:05 p.m. — Fox Sports 1’s Mike Garafolo reported that the Bears have reached a five-year, $35-million deal with defensive end Lamarr Houston, who played for the Raiders last season. The 6-foot-3, 302-pound Houston had six sacks last season and 4.5 sacks in 2012. Chicago Tribune beat writer Brad Biggs tweeted that Houston will get $15 million in guaranteed money.
3:01 p.m. – Jason La Canfora reports Josh McCown will make his first visit to Tampa Bay and there is a “good chance something happens there.” He’s also scheduled to visit the Texans and Jets.
2:57 p.m. – Rick Stroud from the Tampa Bay Times is reporting that the Bucs “will push for Josh McCown, Charles Tillman and possibly Devin Hester.”
2:54 p.m. – Clarence Hill from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is reporting the Cowboys will release defensive end DeMarcus Ware.
2:46 p.m. – This isn’t a surprise, but the Tribune is reporting the Bucs are interested in cornerback Charles Tillman.
12:37 p.m. – The Bears are not planning on placing a restricted free agent tender on safety Anthony Walters by the 3 p.m. deadline, Brad Biggs reports. That means he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.
12:15 p.m. – 49ers safety Donte Whitner, who may have been on the Bears’ radar, is close to a deal with the Cleveland Browns, according to NFL.com. That’s a pretty good indication that safety T.J. Ward won’t return to Cleveland. Ian Rapoport tweets that Whitner is expected to get an average of $7 million a year for four years.
12:07 p.m. – Josh McCown is eligible to re-sign with the Bears at 3 p.m. CT, but it appears his fate won’t be decided today. According to the Chicago Tribune, McCown told SiriusXM this morning that he will visit at least two other teams before he makes a decision.
11:26 a.m. – The Houston Chronicle reports that the Texans have released tight end Owen Daniels, while Ian Rapoport says the Saints are still set to release running back Darren Sproles despite trying to trade him. Hoge tweets that while both Daniels and Sproles are productive players at positions of need, they might be too pricey for what the Bears want to spend for backups at those positions.
10:34 a.m. – Adam Hoge reports linebacker D.J. Williams was hoping for a multi-year deal, which is why he hasn’t re-signed with the Bears yet. He adds that the Bears remain the favorite. The Chicago Tribune reported Monday that the Bears are close to a deal with Williams.
10:04 a.m. – Michael Johnson is off the board. Josina Anderson reports he has agreed to terms with the Bucs on a 5-year, $43.75 million deal with $24 million guaranteed.
8:45 a.m. – Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson is in “serious discussions” with the Buccaneers, Adam Schefter reports.
7:57 a.m. – What exactly happens when the new NFL league starts at 3 p.m. CT? Here’s a list.
Monday, March 10
6:53 p.m. – The Bears are “pushing hard” to sign Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.
6:24 p.m. – The Bears are trying to trade defensive end Julius Peppers, NFL.com reports. CBSChicago.com’s Adam Hoge tweets there’s virtually no chance of the Bears successfully trading Peppers. A release still appears likely.
4:52 p.m. – The Bears released running back Michael Bush, freeing up $1.85 million in cap space. Tight end Dante Rosario was also cut.