Stacking up the free-agent class -- where the Bears rank

Written By Sun-Times Wire Posted: 02/13/2008, 06:46am

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Most view the upcoming free agency period as a little underwhelming overall, but that doesnt mean there are not some star players available for the right price.

Pete Prisco of breaks it down here with an interesting take on the top 32 available players. He makes the strong point that the Bears are not the only team in great position in terms of the salary cap.

According to Prisco, 18 teams will have $20 million or more in available cap room, the Bears included. All of that room could mean hot bidding early and produce some whopper contracts like cornerback Nate Clements scored last March from San Francisco.

Prisco left off the guys who have been slapped with the franchise tag already, or ar expected to be. Bears linebacker Lance Briggs came in at No. 5, the fourth defensive player on the list after New England cornerback Asante Samuel, Tennessee end Antwan Odom and Green Bay tackle Corey Williams.

Wide receiver Bernard Berrian checked in at No. 9, the second-highest skill position player after New England receiver Randy Moss (No. 3).

Quarterback Rex Grossman? No. 22.

Grossmans name has popped up already this week in Miami and Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers just hired ex-Bears quarterbacks coach Greg Olson, who worked with him during his rookie season. Olson tried to recruit Grossman to Purdue when he was coming out of high school and has liked him for a long time.

Illinois product Eugene Wilson, the New England safety, ranks No. 25.