Chicago Sun-Times

Combine: Bears' focus on own likely precludes them from Faneca sweepstakes

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INDIANAPOLIS—In the event you were counting on the Bears to get involved in the Alan Faneca sweepstakes, count them out.

As the Bears’ plan for free agency begins to unfold with the team ramping up efforts to use the $30 million in salary-cap room on its own players, it’s become evident they don’t have large dollars earmarked for players who will be in the marketplace that have come from other teams. So you can effectively cross Faneca, the perennial Pro Bowl guard from Pittsburgh, and San Diego running back Michael Turner off your wish list if they were on there.

``I haven’t heard any name attached to the Bears in free agency in three days down here,’’ said one prominent agent. ``There’s absolutely no buzz about them. They’re all about their own guys.’’

That plan could change if the Bears wind up losing out on linebacker Lance Briggs and wide receiver Bernard Berrian, but at that point the team would be getting in on the secondary phase of free agency.


*** Here is a name to keep an eye on—Matt Forte. The Bears are believed to have an interview set up with the Tulane running back this weekend and he could be on their radar. Forte rushed for 2,127 yards as a senior with 23 touchdowns.

*** Safety Brandon McGowan is expected to receive a one-year tender offer as a restricted free agent this week, as the Sun-Times has previously reported. Best guess is they tender him at the low level of $927,000. He was an undrafted free agent, so there is no draft pick compensation in the event another team would sign him away.

*** Wide receiver Rashied Davis is also expected to receiver a low tender as an RFA. It’s possible the club could look for a multi-year deal for one or both of these players, but the Bears might want to see McGowan prove he’s a little more durable before making such a commitment.

*** Offensive coordinator Ron Turner on Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall, who he recruited to school:

``I liked then what I like now: his size, his speed, his instincts, his feel for the game. He’s a very good player. He was a great, great player in high school, as was his brother. We signed his brother a year before, Walter. Walter, we signed him on his own merit. He was a good player. And Rashard, was just outstanding. I think he was rated the second or third best back in the country coming out. He didn’t get a lot of publicity because he had committed to us so early. He committed before his time to sign.’’

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Stop taking credit for all these stories. I've heard about McGowan, Davis, Grossman, etc. for weeks in all the papers and sports talk stations. Give me a break.

I would not be terribly concerned about not mentioning Faneca at the Combine. Ozzie Newsome made a comment about Derek Anderson as "not a free agent" to avoid getting into trouble with the league for tampering or other offenses. These guys are not officially free agents until Feb 29th. Hopefully they are still identifying ways to get Faneca and not break the bank.

But if we are unable to go after Faneca, then I think our target needs to be Jake Scott from Indy. They re-signed Lilja, and Scott is going to be a free agent. Peyton Manning doesn't get roughed up a lot from the inside pass rush, and Scott is a solid all-around performer, who has played in big game after big game against the best in the AFC. Faneca is by far the top free agent on the OL, but Scott is not far behind him.

I'm glad the Bears did not get into that bidding war with a 30+ year old OL it's time to draft and develop your own and it has been proven a simple system and a huge line goes a long way. Forte is a good choice but I don't see him being there in the third round he had a good Senior Bowl and they know who he is. NFL network showed a lot of the OL Saturday and Otah is huge, I was not impressed as much with Clady, Williams looked smooth but that was in shorts, truth comes out.

Okay, so maybe we the people dont know about the Bears behind the scenes dealings (pursuing Faneca), but if Jerry "The Scarecrow" has made it to Oz and found his brains he is doing one thing. 1. He is considering drafting Mendenhall with that #14 draft pick. Sure he has consistently made mistakes and allocated past early round picks to lethargic, unfocused, lazy, spaced-out bust (i.e. Enis, Benson, Haynes, etc.). But make up for it JERRY! Redeem your ghost of Running Backs past! PLEASE. Draft Mendenhall. Go O-line in the second round (maybe the Albert kid from Virginia). Go QB in the third. Then use some of that 4-7 round magic that you have shown. Sure there are some good tackles that could be taken early, but that is the deepest position in the draft. I have a friend that is throwing the past 2 Cowboys off season successes in my face, and now they have Zach Thomas. I need a good one this year. GO BEARS!

sounds to me like the bears are going to spend there first two picks on lineman. i don't see them getting anyone in free agency so if that happens the bears may try to move up to get a top tackle and guard.. but that would be so dangerous with our offensive situation..

Hey djssr, get your facts straight before you post. Angelo did not draft Enis. Enis was chosen with the 5th overall pick in 1998 by Mark Hatley not Jerry Angelo. Jerry Angelo came to the Bears in the spring of 2001 after the draft that year. Get your facts straight. Second, if you are upset about the Cowboys getting and old, slow, over the hill linebacker like Zack Thomas in free agency then that's pathetic. The Bears are focusing on re-signing their own and rewarding players who have played hard and played very well for them like Alex Brown and Desmond Clark. This will only go over well with other players on the team when they see that players who play hard, don't complain, and do their job get rewarded. I have no problem with any of Angelo's moves so far in free agency, especially not over paying for Berrian and standing his ground. People who say the Bears are cheap are living in the old days. Look at the numbers, the Bears have not been cheap with contracts. They may not throw money around but look at what that gets you.....The Washington Redskins year after year. They spend the money on who deserves it and won't overpay for overrated players like so many other clubs do. The Pittsburgh Steelers follow this motto and continue to lose great players year after year in free agency (Joey Porter, Kendrall Bell, Antwan Randell El, Chad Brown, Yancey Thigpen, Plaxico Burress,etc.) but they identify which players they need and which ones they can live without and are smart with their money and don't overspend and they are viewed by many as the model franchise

Amen about not overspending for Berrian. Mark Bradley can drop as many balls as Berrian. Maybe even less. In fact, I wish they wouldn't even offer Berrian a contract and instead use the money to make a run at Michael Turner. That would have a much bigger impact on the Bears' success.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 23, 2008 11:27 PM.

Combine: Angelo speaks on Grossman signing was the previous entry in this blog.

Combine: Bears turn focus to signing ... Orton is the next entry in this blog.

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