Chicago Sun-Times

Jerry Angelo says Bears have "lines in the water"

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Bears general manager Jerry Angelo expressed excitement about re-signing center Roberto Garza to a two-year extension.

Although the focus had been re-signing running back Matt Forte, Angelo told the team's website that they got a deal with Garza done within two days.

The Bears have more than a dozen free agents, who have expiring contracts, and he noted that they've initiated some talks with other players.

"We always have our lines in the water so-to-speak, talking about extensions or re-signing our players. That's just business as usual," Angelo said. "That's always ongoing.

"Hopefully we'll have something to announce, at some point. When I say we always have lines in the water, I can't tell you exactly when we're going to be able to initiate meaningful conversations."

Meanwhile, Angelo tried to clarify the team's efforts to re-sign Forte.

"As I said on our radio pre-game show Monday night, Matt was the only player we targeted and we made him what I feel is a very lucrative offer on a contract extension," Angleo told the team website. "The deal did not get done, but we definitely want Matt to play many more years with the Bears. Any suggestion otherwise simply is not true.

"We buy into Matt as both a player and a person."

Here's are the players who are free agents: Earl Bennett, Khalil Bell, Forte, Corey Graham, Caleb Hanie, Israel Idonije, Brian Iwuh, Tim Jennings, Brandon Meriweather, Amobi Okoye, Craig Steltz, Edwin Williams and Roy Williams.

Edwin Williams and Bell are restricted free agents.

I would expect that the priorities are Bennett, Okoye, Jennings, Graham and Idonije. With more than $15 million cap space remaining this year.

Who do you guys think are the priorities?

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I applaud your asking us direct questions, Sean; we tend to stray - some more than others. I think Forte and Bennett are the big ones. Though many of the others are making very good contributions - Jennings come to mind - these two are at the next level. Loved Earl's $5,000 orange shoes!

Matt Forte is priority #1, they gotta get him inked. If not, they'll set the franchise back. If Forte is let go, Chicago will have to use a high draft pick on another runner instead of another position of need. They gotta get this deal done! Forte really started to come on last season about at the mid-way point of the season. From weeks 11-17 of last season, Forte put up 90 plus yards 5 times, and went over 100 yards twice in that 7 game span. You gotta figure he was gonna carry that over to this season, he did. Forte started out slow in the first 3 weeks, but since, has simply become the leagues best back! In the last 5 games Forte has gone over 100 yards 4 times. Forte is now on pace to put up 1,600 yards rushing and have over 50 catches. If so, he'll make his first Pro-Bowl, Angelo is gonna have to go to the bank for this one, he should have given Forte the deal he wanted last summer, it would have been cheaper.

Other than Forte, my top priorities would be receiver Earl Bennett, cornerback Tim Jennings, although corner is the position I think Chicago needs to address early in the draft this coming april, Charles Tillman, as good as he has been over the years, will be going on season #10, and maybe DJ Moore will be ready to push Jennings by next summer? But, you need depth at corner in todays pass happy NFL. Defensive linemen Israel Idonije and Amobi Okoye round off my top 5 priorities. Brian Iwuh becomes a priority if something can't get done with the mess known as the Lance Brigg's contract situation. Should be interesting GO BEARS!!


You state that the Bears have more than $15 million in cap space this year. How much will they have in 2012 with the salary cap increase? Plus they must spend at least 90% next year and won't be able to sit on cash.

I agree with your priorities.

I think Meriwether may be gone after this season. Hanie will probably be gone.

Well Forte will be franchised unless he signs, so not a priority cause the Bears hold all the cards.

Priority number 1 Cutler will want Bennett back and Bennett will want to start.

I think you have the right order of who they will want back.

I think the Bears will be looking D-Line early in the draft maybe in the first round depending on who is there when they pick.

Anyway that took my mind off Penn State for 2 min. Back to being numb with anger.

Sean do you know what keeps Corey Graham from being in some kind of rotation at corner or nickel?

I mean the guy shows nothing but elite speed and athletic ability on special teams. And he is as consistent as the day is long, making play after play. I don't get why that skill set doesn't translate into playing time at DB?

Corey Graham and D.J. Moore are 2- players perfectly suited for the Bear's system. Both may get more money other places but, there roles will(Probably) not be as prominent as they are here.

Bennett and "Issy" are setting themselves up nicely, proving their worth to the team. Jennings has been steady but not spectacular. The Bears will probably-
"Swing-for-the-fence" at the corner back position, in the 2012 draft. Look for a CB early in the draft.

Roy Williams may be toast, after the season. He holds his fate in his OWN hands.(Quite simply) if he plays well, he'll get re-signed.However, I'm still looking for that "Tall" receiver Cutler needs...

Great way to take most of the emphasis off Forte- Sean. We all wish him well but, we've seen that movie enough this year.

The key to any team's success(besides the draft) is managing to keep your own Free- Agents that function well in your system.

Can't believe I''m saying this but, Angelo might finally be getting- "IT"...

Then he is probably gone.

Somebody is going to give him a shot at DB and will be willing to pay him because he is so good at special teams it reduces their risk. Even if he continues to struggle at DB, he has good value. The Bears won't be willing to match that value.

I'd love to be wrong about that, he is really fun to watch.

I don't either, but it hasn't. He's had opportunities. Instincts? Confidence?

Sean, you simply have to get this problem solved It won't just go away.

Kevin is right on about his comment of getting Forte signed and it is the most important aspect of Angelo performance as a GM.

I believe that Forte deserves the top level contract, come on look at his numbers and the percentage of the offense which is attributable directly to his performance on the field.

Give Forte the contract, he will not be like some great runners that turn not so great after getting the big deal, I believe Forte has the heart of a Payton, he will perform regardless, he is a man of integrity.

Angelo, Gotta get these guys signed, Okoye, Bennett, Idonije, Graham, Hanie and Jennings, the jury still seems out on Merriweather.

With Forte signed and under contract, the Bears can take the best available talent at OL, DL or CB which should be first priorities but also linebacker will be a need down the road.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on November 10, 2011 2:11 PM.

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