Bears’ Ryan Pace practices patience as free agency opens

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Bears GM Ryan Pace.

When it comes to the Bears and free agency, even Drew Rosenhaus, the NFL’s most famous agent, is preaching patience.

It might be the Ryan Pace way.

While the NFL world was going bonkers with every major signing or star-studded trade Tuesday, the Bears remained quiet.

In the second hour of the new league year, the only official announcement was the trade sending Brandon Marshall to the New York Jets.

The Bears’ deal with outside linebacker/defensive end Pernell McPhee wasn’t even announced immediately, but he was in town Tuesday.

One development was the arrival of safety Antrel Rolle, 32, for a visit. Rolle, represented by Rosenhaus, was scheduled to meet with the Bears. The expectation is that he will be signed, but Rosenhaus stressed that an agreement wasn’t in place.

“Antrel Rolle is visiting the Bears,” he said on Twitter, “but DOES NOT have any agreement with them or any other team at this time.”

The Bears have been looking at free-agent receivers, and multiple reports indicated that Eddie Royal, a former teammate of Jay Cutler’s with the Denver Broncos, was visiting.

The lack of a splash was a break from the recent past after former general manager Phil Emery moved quickly and signed defensive end Lamarr Houston, left tackle Jermon Bushrod and tight end Martellus Bennett the last two years.

Pace has stressed that the big picture always will be the focus in his decision-making. He has roughly $30 million to spend in free agency, but there’s no need to overpay when you’re rebuilding.

At this time, apparently the only major deal is McPhee’s.

“What you want to do in free agency is stay out of the splash signings,” said ESPN NFL front-office analyst Louis Riddick, a former Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles executive.

“Unless it’s a real obvious fit, you try to stay out of that first 24 to 48 hours, then be selective and do good deals for your team and good deals for your locker room because you’re getting the right kind of guys, and you’re not saying the heck with culture and the heck with fit, and you just want the guy who makes a big splash. Look, I’ve been involved in that numerous times. It’s just a recipe for disaster.”

The Bears still were busy. They had interest in tight end Virgil Green, but he re-signed with the Broncos.

Safety remains a priority, and there are some quality players still unsigned, including the Kansas City Chiefs’ Ron Parker.

So moves might be on the way. Just be patient.

“There’s value to be found in free agency as long as you really understand and lay out what your expectations are and lay out what price you’re willing to pay and don’t let your emotions get involved,” Riddick said.

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

Twitter: @adamjahns

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