The Bears continue to play the waiting game for linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, who was released nearly three weeks ago by the St. Louis Rams. He's still very much in play a day after the New England Patriots brought him in for a visit Tuesday and then went in another direction, signing Paris Lenon to fill a void at inside linebacker.
Tinoisamoa has also visited the Buffalo Bills and may use a visit to the Philadelphia Eagles to explore a real opportunity or drum up more more interest at a time when few teams are out shopping on the open market. Being so late to the game in free agency is why a one-year contract makes sense for Tinoisamoa. He had three years remaining on a $24.7 million, five-year extension, and was due to make $3.25 million this season.
St. Louis attempted for some time to trade Tinoisamoa and the fact that it couldn't find a taker means getting that kind of money for one season might be a challenge for him. The Bears aren't in a rush to get a deal done but ideally would like to have him in place before Monday so he can attend the bulk of the OTA sessions which resume then and run for three weeks.
What is less clear is what the Bears will do if they are able to land the veteran. It's expected Tinoisamoa would be the favorite to win the starting job at strong-side linebacker, especially considering his history with Lovie Smith and Bob Babich. That would relegate Nick Roach and Hunter Hillenmeyer to reserve roles. Roach could be a standout on special teams but surely has bigger plans after nudging his way into the starting lineup during the middle of last season.
Hillenmeyer has yet to be cleared to return to the playing field after surgery to repair a sports hernia. He has to be focused on being ready to compete at the start of training camp. The addition of Tinoisamoa would make it interesting because the Bears will likely keep six linebackers on the 53-man roster or seven if they feel there is a player who fills multiple needs on special teams.