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Is the price right? Bears have strict approach to free agency

Bears GM Ryan Pace. (AP)

The Bears have plenty of money to spend and plenty of needs to address, but they’re not looking for a quick fix. General manager Ryan Pace doesn’t believe in them.

‘‘I’m careful of the short term,’’ Pace said during the NFL Scouting Combine. ‘‘[The] quick fix sometimes doesn’t work out. We’re more [into] building this the right way, through younger talent.’’

By that, Pace means players the Bears have drafted. As he said, free agency can be full of land mines.

‘‘You’ve got to be careful you don’t step on the wrong one,’’ Pace said.

So what does that mean for free agency this year? According to the NFL Players Association, the Bears have about $51.5 million in salary-cap space. It’s a fluid amount, but price matters plenty to the Bears. It has to be right.

According to several league sources, the Bears have interest in a long list of free agents. They include quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Mike Glennon, cornerbacks A.J. Bouye, Logan Ryan and Stephon Gilmore, receiver Kenny Stills and tight end Dion Sims.

There are other players, too. The combine is full of discussions. It’s how markets are set.

But the real negotiations start Tuesday, when the NFL’s ‘‘legal tampering’’ window opens. Deals can’t be formalized until 3 p.m. Thursday.

The Bears are thought to be willing to spend on receivers and cornerbacks. Alshon Jeffery remains an option, but Stills is thought to be high on the Bears’ list, especially because they tried to trade for him last year. But as one league source said, there are plenty of misleading reports out there.

Here is one certainty, though: The Bears want to stick to the financial parameters they’ve established for free agency. They’re not going to overpay because they have money. They can’t buy their way out of trouble.

Take Glennon, for instance. He reportedly rejected an offer from the Buccaneers that would have made him the highest-paid backup in the league, possibly at $8 million a season. There is simply more money on the market, and Glennon wants to start. According to Yahoo! Sports, Glennon is expected to get a deal worth $14 million to $15 million per season.

But is a quarterback who last started in 2014 really worth that? Jay Cutler has a base salary of $12.5 million next season.

At 27, Glennon is thought to have some untapped potential. He got caught up in coaching changes with the Buccaneers and fell behind Josh McCown in 2014 and then Jameis Winston the last two seasons.

But what’s Glennon really worth? It’s a tough thing to figure out for a veteran — that’s why the Bears are comfortable letting Jeffery explore the market — much less for a player who hasn’t played much in recent years. Brock Osweiler’s big-money deal didn’t exactly translate into big-time results last season for the Texans.

Pace stressed the importance of being financially disciplined.

‘‘Between [lead negotiator] Joey Laine and myself, we have parameters set up for each guy,’’ Pace said. ‘‘[It’s] what we expect it’s going to get to, and we have to know when we’re going north of that number and when we might need to back away.

‘‘That can be hard, being honest, because you’re competitive and you visualize certain guys being on your team. But once [the price] goes north of the number, you’ve also got to be responsible and disciplined. It can be a challenge.’’

That’s especially true when it comes to a quarterback.

‘‘There is a delicate balance between being aggressive and being decisive, but [it’s] being responsible,’’ Pace said. ‘‘I think you can always recover from the player you didn’t sign; you can’t recover from the player that you signed at the wrong price. We’ve got to be conscious of that.’’