Chicago Sun-Times

Free-agent parade: Bears bring in CB Lucas for visit

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Orlando Pace was not the only veteran to visit Halas Hall Monday.

A league source told the Sun-Times that cornerback Ken Lucas also was in for a visit, an interesting development given the situation at right cornerback.

Lucas was cut loose by the Carolina Panthers, who are squeezed for salary-cap room, and could make things very interesting for Nathan Vasher if he is signed. The Panthers released Lucas earlier this month in a move that freed up nearly $2.4 million in cap room. After signing offensive tackle Jordan Gross to a major deal, and with defensive end Julius Peppers counting $16.7 million vs. their cap, Carolina has had to dance around the cap some.

While Panthers coach John Fox did not rule out a possible return for Lucas last week at the owners meetings, he's looking elsewhere right now. It is believed that Seattle, Lucas' original team, also has interest in him. A career right cornerback, Lucas started 49 of 50 games for the Panthers since coming over in 2005 after signing a $36 million, six-year contract.

Releasing him allowed the Panthers to promote Richard Marshall, who was one of the better nickel backs in the league. Lucas has good size at 6-foot, 205 pounds, and is a physical performer. He was the teammate Steve Smith punched out last summer. Smith wound up being suspended for the Bears' game at Carolina. Of course, that did them little good in a come-from-ahead loss.

Vasher, the former Pro Bowl performer, ran with the starters at right corner earlier this month at minicamp. But left cornerback Charles Tillman was sidelined with a shoulder injury and it's not know how the action would have been divided between Vasher and Corey Graham. Vasher fell out of favor with coach Lovie Smith last season. Vasher looked slimmed down in minicamp and said he is looking forward to competing. He's played in just 12 games since signing a contract extension in the summer of 2007. Since, he's earned $15 million as Vasher's deal was front-loaded.

Think of the bonus the Bears would have in working with Bus Cook on a deal for Lucas--he is the agent who represents Denver quarterback Jay Cutler.

Pace was also in to visit the Bears. He's in negotiations with the Baltimore Ravens. If that doesn't work out, the Bears could step in quickly now that he's taken a physical. Adding Pace would give them three tackles, two with experience, and likely alter the draft strategy. Pace has had injury issues the past several seasons but played in 14 games last year.

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20 Comments

no tillman is going to FS mess please...

pace is a real option...lucas im not so sure about...

he would def provide depth...and might signal the end of the interceptor in chicago if he's signed

training camp looks to have some interesting battles coming up...which is always good for the team

"come from ahead loss" is awesome.

What is up with the Bears obsession with the Panthers players? If they're going to truly go after their love for the Panthers GO AFTER PEPPERS! Or at least go for Steve Smith.

When is Torry Holt coming?

Lucas is better than Graham or Vasher, but after 8 seasons in the league maybe he could move to FS. His solid in coverage and like Brad said a Physical player. 24 Int's in 8 years is solid.

Well Angelo looks to be building through the draft as usual. Pace, Shaffer, Omiyale, Bullocks, Lucas, Earl, at least this proves he knows he sucks at drafting. Even though he builds through the draft oh and there a running team, and they have faith in Kyle Orton. Oh almost forgot Steltz is a starter day one, anyone else got anymore company lines I am leaving out. OMG Rex is/was our QB, cannot forget that. Have they sad they have faith in Chris Williams? If they have said that Chris Williams will be grabing some bench.

lol ish, thats funny!
We go for the discards lol

ken lucas is an above average corner

Still no QB brought in yet??????? YIKES!

ken lucas isnt shutdown corner...but hes been a very good and consistent CB for his career...i have absolutely no problem with them bring in (well possibly bringing) proven depth or proven starters...

carlina let him for salary cap reasons not because he couldnt play anymore...so this whole "discard" stuff is just silly...

if that was the case EVERYONE goes for someone elses discards in FA

Wow, some of these comments are ridiculous. Lucas is a very good corner, better than Vasher and bigger/more physical. He contained Steve Smith in practice and got in his head (not that it's hard). Having Vasher or Graham as a nickle back would be great. If we happen to sign both guys, it might allow us to use the first couple picks on WR,S , and DE/DT, all areas of need. Then we can focus on the OL in the middle of the draft. While it would be good to have Holt or a veteran WR, they're not going to do that. They'll use a rookie from this season and Bennett to run along Hester, only time will tell how that works out. This season might actually be shaping up if things go according to plan.

Peppers isn't going anywhere, well, unless the Panthers can agree to a sign and trade with Peppers/his agent first.

They Tagged him so he is gauranteed a one year 16.5 million dollar deal. That in and of itself makes him unnapealing to most NFL teams.
Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, Carolina is prohibited from discussing a deal for Peppers with another team. If the Panthers did, it would bring a grievance from the NFL Players Association. Carolina cannot trade Peppers, not until he signs his Franchise tender, which he has not....

"Oh almost forgot Steltz is a starter day one"

Actually, the saying was that Steltz was graded by the Bears scouts as a potential starter when he was drafted, not from "day one"....

Go Bears !!

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/3432246/NFL-Offseason-Player-Tracker:-NFC-North

This site shows Free Agent signings per team, New England, Arizona, St. Louis signed quite a few (of course Washington) Nice reading.

Creighton:

I agree this potential situation with Lucas reaks of a deal to find a free safety. Lucas probably would be great at free safety, real physical, heady, creates turnovers and could make the transition. Either they are thinking Peanut at Free Safety or maybe Lucas but I don't think Bowman is a real consideration given his problem with injuries and lack of experience.

The BEARS may not go OT at #18 now given the interest they have shown in free agent OT's and the players they have signed.

Maybe JA is getting ready to really make an offer for Cutler and would give up Vasher and also trade one of the following, like Urlacher, or Harris or Orton and maybe a round 1 pick next year to get Cutler. Maybe that is why Lucas is being looked at because Vasher is being shopped by the Bears and is on the trading block.

Trading either Harris or Urlacher might be a consideration because of the value they would have in the draft at pick #18 with either a DT or middle linebacker?

JA would create quite a legacy for himself and possibly guarantee himself a job with the BEARS for another 5 years if he could pull off getting Cutler.

Who knows, I have always believed in the conspiracy theory and certainly believe that a clandestine effort may be in process with the BEARs and the situation noted above.

Do not be surprised if they trade Urlacher, Orton, this year's third, and next year's first for Cutler. They would then grab Laurinaitis with the first, Robiskie in the second, and do their "best player available" deal the rest of the draft.

If they do sign Lucas it will be to move him to FS.

It is not as much of a long shot that people are making it out to be.

Dahli, Lucas could go to FS but my best guess would be he would play Corner and Graham would move to Safety. Were I have said a few times I think he would do well. I think Lucas could also play FS but it depends were you want your strength to be. Either way he is a good player and better than what we have already.

I will never like Angelo as a GM or a scout he has no eye for college talent. I would not mind seeing him as a President as he tends to do some nice work with contracts and trades. But as a GM he sucks.

Do you think they would involve Hester in a deal for Cutler if they could get Brandon Marshall in the trade?

dahillama,

If you were Denver would you trade Cutler for Vasher, any of the players you mentioned, and a number one pick? I know I wouldn't. All of those defensive players are injury problems and haven't shown any greatness in several years. And Orton would be a downgrade. If I'm Denver it would take a king's ransom of draft picks to trade Cutler, and if I'm the Bears I wouldn't give that up. Mortgaging your future is fine when you're one player away from winning it all. The Bears are far from that.

Big Bear:

Some good points but consider that the draft is not a guarantee and can be a crap shoot at times, so draft picks might not be as valuable as say a proven MLB in Urlacher, a multiple probowler that has played albeit not at the elite level last year but he is effective and has special talent with speed for MLB.

Also Denver needs desperate help on the defense. A player like Vasher (past pro bowl) or Harris (mutiple probowls) or Urlacher adds a proven starter to a Donkey's D that is pathetic and can't stop the run.

Denver has stated that they must have a starting NFL QB as part of the packaged trade and Orton could fit that requirement. If I had my choice I would give Urlacher, Vasher, Orton and next years #1 pick to the Donks for Cutler. Pick a stud middle linebacker at #18 like Muaulaga (spelling) from USC, sign Lucas for either safety or corner and pick up additional OT, Pace would be just fine.

Then the Bears can go WR or D line (DT or DE) in the second round

Then they could make me the GM and pay me half as much as JA with the rest of the money going to my favorite dog rescue charity or more likely to my ex wife.

Creighton:

I completely agree with you that Graham would be scary good at Free safety but I believe he is going to be quite exceptional maybe (probowl) caliber as a starting corner either opposite Tillman or Lucas with either Tillman or Lucas as starting free safety.

Creighton, I think that both Lucas and tillman half lost just a little edge on speed to be elite corners and both would be great/elite safeties, that could still be good corners.

I tend to agree with you on JA's lack of ability to draft offensive talent, although he did pick Forte last year, damn good pick. But I don't know that he could draft a franchise QB even if the guy had a uniform printed with Franchise QB moniker on both the front and the back of the uniform.

I am telling you that my ex wife would love the idea of me taking on the GM job for half the salary of JA.

We will know very quickly how serious JA is about the Cutler derby when we see how many of these free agents get signed in the next couple of days. Pace, Lucas, and probably Holt will all need to be brought into the fold to make up for losing the draft picks we will give up to get him.

I like Lucas at either spot (CB or FS), but I don't think they will put him at free safety. I think they will take Manning and put him back there, and let Graham be the nickel behind Tillman and Lucas. Vasher will be included as part of the package for Cutler (3 team deal between the Bears, Browns, and Broncos, where Cleveland will want Vasher since their corners are not good at all)

This should be an interesting couple of days....

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on March 30, 2009 5:41 PM.

On Pace for a change in draft strategy? Bears bring in vet for visit was the previous entry in this blog.

Bears bringing in Rutgers DE for a closer look is the next entry in this blog.

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