One of the Bears' primary competitors made a huge splash in free agency a year ago when the Minnesota Vikings signed wide receiver Bernard Berrian away with a $42 million, six-year contract. The Vikes then made a major splash in signing safety Madieu Williams and their biggest move of all was the sign-and-trade deal they engineered for defensive end Jared Allen.
Now, the defending NFC North champion Vikings are in play for the top wide receiver in this free-agent class--T.J. Houshmandzadeh. He's reportedly headed from Seattle to Minnesota for his next free-agent stop. The Vikings, who already have the top run defense in the league, would have an even more improved offense with Houshmandzadeh to work with newly acquired quarterback Sage Rosenfels.
It's unknown what the market is like right now for Houshmandzadeh, who reportedly was looking for a deal that paid him $10 million a year. Houshmandzadeh's agent Kennard McGuire told the Sun-Times on Friday that the Bears were not in play for his client.
Appearing on ESPN Thursday night, Houshmandzadeh identified the Vikings, Seahawks, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles as teams he had interest in joining. He could also return to Cincinnati.
Houshmandzadeh isn't the only big name remaining in free agency. Middle linebacker Ray Lewis hasn't found a home yet. He could return to Baltimore. Cornerback Leigh Bodden remains on the market. But it looks like the big money that was flying around in the two weeks leading up to free agency, and the money paid out Friday is quickly drying up. Stay tuned.