The Bears are expected to make a big push to sign defensive end Julius Peppers when free agency starts tonight at 11:01 p.m. CST. But their greatest challenge may be the Seattle Seahawks.
The Seahawks aren't afraid to spend money, and former Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, unlike some of his peers, obviously doesn't have any cash flow issues.
New head coach Pete Carroll is believed to be high on Peppers, who could be a long-term foundation for the Seahawks. The Seahawks desperately need to improve their pass rush since Patrick Kerney has been a disappointment since registering 14.5 sacks in 2007, his first year with the club.
Word is, Peppers may command a deal that averages about $14 million a year and includes guarantees of up to $40 million.
The McCaskey family has approved about $30 million for free agency, so the Bears would have to get creative to land Peppers or free up some more money.
After Peppers, Aaron Kampman is regarded as the second-best defensive end available, followed by Kyle Vanden Bosch. But one league source told me that Kampman may be headed to Philadelphia.
So are the Bears putting all their eggs in one basket?
There's a drop-off from Peppers to Kampman and Vanden Bosch. But there's an even more dramatic drop after those two.
We won't have to wait long; there will be plenty of activity tonight.