Bears free-agent news 2018: Updates on Chicago’s latest roster moves
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Here are the Bears’ latest free agent moves, rumblings and targets as they look to assemble their roster for the 2018 season.
April 7: The Bears re-signed defensive lineman John Jenkins to a one-year deal. He had eight tackles in eight games last year after signing as a free agent.
April 4: Receiver Josh Bellamy signed his restricted free agent tender and will re-join the Bears.
April 3: The Bears officially announced the signings of running back Benny Cunningham, snapper Patrick Scales and veteran offensive lineman Earl Watford to one-year contracts. Watford started 20 games for the Cardinals over the past two seasons.
April 2: Running back Benny Cunningham will re-sign with the Bears, sources said, and will report to work Tuesday on the first day of the team’s offseason activities.
Signed to a one-year deal last season after four with the Rams, Cunningham caught 20 passes for 240 yards, ran nine times for 29 yards and scored two touchdowns as a backup. He was a special teams stalwart, playing 54.7 percent of the Bears’ kicking downs.
March 27: The Bears officially announced cornerback Sherrick McManis signing a two-year contract.
March 27: The Bears are re-signing long snapper Patrick Scales, general manager Ryan Pace said at the NFL Annual Meetings in Orlando, Fla. Scales tore his ACL in the team’s third preseason game last year after playing all 16 games the year before. Pace also confirmed the ESPN report from Friday that the Bears were re-signing cornerback Marcus Cooper, who they cut earlier this month.
March 26: Outside linebacker Pernell McPhee, who the Bears cut last month, signed with the Redskins. He told the team web site that it was a “real close” decision, choosing the Redskins instead of the Falcons. McPhee had 14 sacks in three seasons with the Bears, fighting injuries along the way.
March 23: The Bears are expected to re-sign cornerback Marcus Cooper on a one-year deal worth $2.5 million, per ESPN.
Cooper, who visited the Cardinals on Friday, signed a three-year, $16 million deal last offseason but was cut by the Bears earlier this month after one disappointing season. He was best-known for slowing down his gait and fumbling at the 1-yard line while returning a blocked field goal against the Steelers.
The 28-year-old, who had three pass deflections and four starts last year, figures to back up starters Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara. Cooper can also help on special teams — he played 35 percent of the Bears’ snaps during kicks last year.
March 22: Cornerback Sherrick McManis is expected to return to the Bears, a source confirmed. The longest-tenured Bears player, McManis played a team-high 64.2 percent of their special teams snaps and was a captain last year. Of the five permanent captains the Bears named last year, the Northwestern alum is the only one who will be on the team in 2018.
McManis was acquired from the Texans in a trade on the eve of the 2012 season. He was an alternate for the 2016 Pro Bowl. The Tribune first reported the move.
March 20: Kyle Fuller called his wooing by the Packers, and subsequent signing with the Bears, a “crazy experience.”
March 20: Bears receiver Cam Meredith, a restricted free agent, visited the Colts. The Bears can match any offer given the receiver, but would get no compensation if they decline.
March 20: Cut by the Jaguars on Tuesday morning, Allen Hurns told a Charlotte radio station the Bears were interested in him.
March 20: The Bears are re-signing inside linebacker John Timu, sources said. A restricted free agent last week, Timu did not receive a contract tender but still stayed in the mix to return.
Timu is expected to fight for a backup job and special teams playing time.
March 16: The Bears quickly matched the Packers’ offer sheet for cornerback Kyle Fuller, bringing the cornerback back to them on a four-year deal with $18 million guaranteed.
After getting a transition tag 10 days earlier, Fuller was allowed to solicit offer sheets from other teams. The Bears had the right to match the offer, but would have not received compensation had they decided against it.
March 16: The Raiders signed former Bears long snapper Andrew DePaola.
March 16: Tight end Daniel Brown will return to the Bears, sources tell the Sun-Times’ Adan Jahns. Brown Didn’t receive a tender by the Bears early this week as a restricted free agent, but was always a candidate to return. The Bears later confirmed the move.
In 20 game with the Bears, Brown has caught 29 passes for 253 yards and one score. Last season, he emerged as a reliable special teams weapon, playing 43 percent of the time.
He’ll be in a crowded tight end room with Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen, Dion Sims and Ben Braunecker.
March 16: The Bears are signing a third-string quarterback who knows Matt Nagy’s offense, Tyler Bray, to a one-year deal . Bray has thrown just one pass, an incompletion, in four years with the Chiefs. His signing precludes the return of Mark Sanchez, last year’s third-stringer who the Bears praised for his professionalism. The Bears could still add a young quarterback, probably after the draft, for offseason drills.
March 15: The Bears are bringing back punter Pat O’Donnell on a one-year deal worth $1.5 million, sources confirmed.
March 15: The Bears signed former 49ers outside linebacker Aaron Lynch to a one-year deal..
Lynch recorded six sacks as a rookie while playing under current Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. He’s appeared in only seven games in each of the last two seasons.
March 15: Bears general manager Ryan Pace was complimentary, if elusive, when asked what the team would do with tight end Dion Sims. Sims is due $4 million of his $6 million salary if he’s on the roster Saturday.
‘We like Dion Sims,” he said Friday.
March 15: Josh Sitton will get his $8 million, weeks after the Bears declined to pick up his option at the same amount. The former Bears guardsign a two-year deal with the Dolphins, per NFL Network.
March 14: The Bears formally announced they’d agreed to terms with five free agents — wideout Allen Robinson, tight end Trey Burton, receiver Taylor Gabriel, kicker Cody Parkey and quarterback Chase Daniel — official.
The Bears confirmed what we’ve reported: that Burton, Parkey and Gabriel will get four-year deals, Robinson a three-year pact and Daniel a two-year contract.
They’ll meet the media Thursday afternoon at Halas Hall — as will GM Ryan Pace.
March 14: Former Bears defensive end Mitch Unrein will sign with the Buccaneers.
March 14: The Bears officially announced that they’re re-signing Sam Acho and Prince Amukamara.
March 14: Cody Parkey will get $9 million in guarantees over four years, and $15 million total, a source confirmed.
March 14: Trey Burton’s four-year contract features $18 million of fully guaranteed money over the first two years with, ostensibly, two team options, per SI.com
March 14: The Bears will sign Chase Daniel to a two-year deal to be their backup quarterback, per NFL Network. Daniel was an obvious target for the Bears to put behind Mitch Trubisky — he played in coach Matt Nagy’s system and also for Ryan Pace’s Saints, and is highly regarded by both men.
He spent his first three years with the Saints before going to Kansas City for three more, the Eagles for one and then back to New Orleans.
Daniel has the athleticism to run Nagy’s system — but, more importantly, the knowledge of it to share with Trubisky and others.
He’s made more than $24 million in his career despite starting two games.
March 13: The Bears will re-sign outside linebacker Sam Acho to a two-year deal, his brother Tweeted. Emmanuel Acho is an ESPN college football analyst. Sam Acho had three sacks in 12 starts and is considering a quality special teamer and locker room presence. Early Thursday morning, he updated with contract details:
March 13: Quarterback Mike Glennon, who the Bears can’t officially cut until the start of the free agency period Wednesday, plans to sign with the Cardinals, per NFL Network. There, he’ll back up former Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford, who was signed earlier Tuesday. Glennon signed a three-year, $45 million with the Bears a year ago and leaves after making $18.5 million for four uninspiring starts. General manager Ryan Pace told Glennon last month that, as expected, the Bears would release him once the league year began.
March 13: Prince Amukamara will return to the Bears. The cornerback’s contract is for three years and $27 million, per ESPN. He signed a one-year, $7 million deal with them last offseason. Amukamara had a solid, if unspectacular season, and still hasn’t posted an interception since 2015. Still, the Bears were happy with the tandem of the 29-year-old and Kyle Fuller, to whom they gave the transition tag last week.
March 13: Falcons receiver Taylor Gabriel plans to sign with the Bears, a source confirmed.
The speed demon — his 40-yard dash is around 4.2 seconds — had 33 catches for 378 yards in 16 games last year. The season before, he was a weapon on the Falcons’ Super Bowl-losing team. A former undrafted free agent, he spent his first two seasons with the Browns.
March 13: Cody Parkey, the Dolphins kicker who worked with new Bears special teams coach Chris Tabor in Cleveland, plans to sign with the Bears, sources confirmed, though contract details were still being finalized. He made 21-of-23 attempts last season in his only year in Miami. The 26-year-old Auburn alum spent his first two seasons with the Eagles.
March 13: Christian Jones, who played both inside and outside linebacker for the Bears, will sign with the Lions, per ESPN.
March 13: The Bears will sign tight end Trey Burton, a hero of the Eagles Super Bowl victory, to a four-year contract, per NFL Network. The 26-year-old caught 23 passes for 248 yards and five touchdowns last year, and notoriously threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Nick Foles in the title game.
He’ll join a tight end group that includes 2017 second-round pick Adam Shaheen. The Bears owe Dion Sims $4 million if he’s on the roster after Friday. Daniel Brown is not expected to receive a tender as a restricted free agent, sources said, but could still return to the team. Burton, who turns 27 in October, played at Florida before being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2014.
March 13: Cross Albert Wilson off the Bears’ list. The former Chiefs receiver, who many figured was destined for a reunion with former coordinator Matt Nagy on the Bears, will sign with the Dolphins, per NFL Network. The slot receiver was repeatedly linked to the Bears at the NFL Scouting Combine.
March 13: Andrew Norwell, the top guard target in the market, is expected to sign with the Jaguars, per ESPN. While the Bears needed a guard, he figured to be one of the highest-paid players in free agency.
March 13: The Bears landed their receiver early Tuesday morning, agreeing to sign Allen Robinson once free agency begins Wednesday. The former Jaguars receiver will sign a three-year, $42 million deal, per NFL Network. He immediately becomes the Bears’ top receiver, though he’s recovering from a torn ACL in Week 1 last year.
March 12: Albert Wilson, the Chiefs receiver who many at the NFL Scouting Combine presumed was headed for a reunion with former coordinator Matt Nagy, isn’t a slam dunk, per the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The Dolphins certainly need a slot receiver after trading Jarvis Landry. If Wilson wants to land with the Bears, this makes for a fine negotiating tactic, too — and a reminder that, just because a player is familiar with a coach doesn’t make him a lock to land anywhere. As Bears general manager Ryan Pace is quick to remind people, players often go where they get the most money. Stay tuned.
March 12: Tight end Daniel Brown isn’t expected to receive a tender, sources said, but the restricted free agent remains a candidate to eventually return.
March 12: Receiver Cam Meredith will receive an original-round tender from the Bears worth $1.91 million, sources confirmed. Had the Bears put a second-round tender on him, they would have owed him about $1 million more next year. The Bears have the right to match any other offer to the Illinois State alum, but will not receive compensation if he goes elsewhere.
Meredith caught 66 passes for 888 yards in 2016 before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in the team’s preseason game against the Titans, costing him the season. Meredith has been working out with the Bears as he rehabs his knee.
“That’s a team that I’ve heard as far as people are talking about being interested in me,” he said. “Again, for me, there’s a lot of teams out there that not only have interest in me but who I have interest in. It comes down to some other variables, as far as kinda narrowing that down.
“From what I’ve heard about Chicago, I heard it’s an amazing city … an amazing football town.”
Robinson is considered the top free agent receiver on the market, with Rams speedster Sammy Watkins a close second. Either would become the Bears’ No. 1 option.
The “Schein on Sports” host asked Robinson about the 49ers, too. Robinson said they would “most definitely” be intriguing.
“Have some of the same things that Chicago has when it comes down to quarterback, an offensive-minded head coach, a football city, tradition.”
Robinson tore his ACL in the season-opener but said he’ll be ready for training camp. He said that, after discussions with his agent, he believes he’ll get a multi-year deal.
March 12: Nickel cornerback Bryce Callahan, a restricted free agent, will receive the right-of-first refusal tender from the Bears. The Bears have the right to match it but won’t receive compensation if he leaves.
March 12: The Bears will give wide receiver and special teamer Josh Bellamy, a restricted free agent, an original-round tender worth $1.9 million. The Bears have the right to match any team’s contract offer but get no compensation if they decline.
March 12: The Bears won’t tender long snapper Patrick Scales, who missed all of the last regular season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, a source confirmed. Scales, who snapped all 16 games for the Bears in 2016 and five the year before, will become a free agent. With Andrew DePaola a free agent, too, the Bears don’t have a snapper on their 2018 roster.
March 12: Chiefs slot receiver Albert Wilson, who sources said at the NFL Scouting Combine could be headed for a reunion with Bears coach Matt Nagy, is ready for free agency.
March 12: The Bears signed Bradley Sowell, a swing tackle who can play guard in a pinch, to a two-year contract before the start of the legal tampering period.
March 11: Examining the Bears’ top needs, potential free agent targets, which former players will become free agents and how much money they have to spend.
March 9: Bears general manager Ryan Pace should find smoother sailing in free agency in 2018 than he did in his previous three years.