The release of Tommie Harris, Hunter Hillenmeyer and Kevin Shaffer may just be the beginning of a mini-exodus put on by the Bears. There are other players that could have seen their final days in a Bear’s uniform due to contract problems or due to the fact that the Bears may feel that they don’t need them any longer.
One of those guys is safety Danieal Manning. Manning is a free agent and will demand much more money than he is worth. We saw what he thought of his value last year and this year he is sure to demand a lot again this year. The question is, will the Bears give it to him or will they let him walk.
The Bears have struggled with their secondary over the past few seasons and it would be difficult for them to let Manning walk. Manning also provides them with some solid play on special teams so that loss would hurt in more than just one way. Would they be willing to pay him the money that he will demand to stay with the team? You can almost be assured that no one else will give him what he wants so the Bears will probably keep him in 2011.
Another player that might be headed out of town is safety Josh Bullocks. For some reason, Bullocks has managed to stay with the Bears since they signed him back in 2009. He hasn’t seen much action since and the Bears may be looking to bring in some other players at this position to be a backup at the safety position.
Bullocks, therefore, could be making his way out of Chicago this offseason.
Some other Bears that could be on the bubble this season include wide receivers Rashied Davis and Devin Aromashodu and running backs Kahlil Bell and Garrett Wolfe. The offense could see some change as it tries to retool for a much improved 2011 season.
The defense may not be touched as much (except for perhaps Manning and Bullocks) because of the departure of both Harris and Hillenmeyer and the need for depth all across that side of the ball.
Chicago will also seek to add another quarterback to the roster as Todd Collins was very ineffective last season and has probably seen his last days as an NFL player. They also need to sign Caleb Hanie who is an unrestricted free agent and there is no indication that the Bears wouldn’t resign Hanie. It would be tough for them to replace two quarterbacks heading into next season and Hanie plays well enough so Chicago will want to keep him.
Of course a lot of things are still up in the air as we wait to see if NFL owners and the players union come up with for a new collective bargaining agreement. Things could change drastically if they decide to make changes to free agency so the Bears, along with every other team in the NFL will be paying close attention to what happens in the coming days.