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With 62 players currently under contract, the Bears will be able to sign seven undrafted free agents following the draft provided they stay with 11 draft picks,

Rosters have been capped at 80 now for the offseason after NFL Europa closed up shop and it’s an important thing to take a look at, a decision by owners at their meetings earlier this month that may prove to be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Very foolish.

The Bears benefited as much as any club from the developmental league in Europe. No, they never found Kurt Warner slinging touchdowns overseas, but they got the most out of the roster exemptions the league provided for training camp. Players from Europe were exempt and didn’t count against the 80-man limit. So, the Bears could carry 85, 86, 87 and maybe even a few more players to Bourbonnais with them every July.

Rashied Davis did not have to go elsewhere to get the multi-year deal he was seeking.

The wide receiver, who signed his one-year tender as a restricted free agent last Friday, agreed to a three-year contract Wednesday. Terms of the deal are not yet available, but it’s believed he received a little more than $1 million to sign.

Davis had hoped to land an offer sheet but no teams stepped up before the deadline last week. It was a situation where clubs liked him but didn’t believe they would be able to construct a contract that the Bears would not step up and match. Davis proved valuable as a slot receiver in 2006 and stepped forward to be a key member on special teams last season. This would seem to secure his position on the roster.

Rashied Davis will sign the one-year tender offer the Bears made him this afternoon.

Agent Wynn Silberman confirmed the wide receiver will return to the team this season. Davis had been shopping himself as a restricted free agent. The deadline for RFA’s to sign offer sheets is tonight at 11, and Davis doesn’t have anything brewing so he will put his signature to a contract that will pay him $927,000 in 2008.

What to do now?

The momentum the Bears had around the combine when they whipped through contracts for quarterbacks Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton, defensive end Alex Brown and tight end Desmond Clark is gone. Long gone.

The man team president Ted Phillips called the “face” of the organization wants more money with four years remaining on his contract. It’s a delicate situation for middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, a former defensive player of the year award winner, made more awkward by the six-time Pro Bowler suggesting he could retire with neck and back ailments. Inside the Bears co-worker Mike Mulligan details the entire situation.

Proving an injury would allow him to keep the $13 million in bonus money he collected after signing his nine-year, $56.65 million extension in 2003. It would prevent him from playing again too. His agents have also dropped the idea that he be allowed to explore a trade. Urlacher has stayed away from the voluntary offseason program which is two weeks old, and has made it known he is willing to pass on mandatory activities otherwise known as minicamp and training camp.

With the Bears headed East to work out Virginia guard Branden Albert next week, that just about completes a run through the top available linemen.

Albert has reportedly been climbing draft boards the last few weeks with many now projecting him as a left tackle. He has long arms and is agile on his feet with a background as a basketball player. The Bears will head in for a final look at him in the days leading up to the draft, a source said Wednesday.

So Albert will join Boise State’s Ryan Clady and Boston College’s Gosder Cherilus as prospects the team is known to have had private workouts with. The Bears were one of a handful of teams at a workout by Pittsburgh’s Jeff Otah last week, and the team is known to have gone into Nashville, Tenn., to check out Chris Williams of Vanderbilt. The Bears also attended the pro day at USC where Sam Baker worked out.

From Devin Hester’s mind to Deion Sanders’ lips ... or something like that.

Everyone knows the sensational return man has a close friend and confidant in Sanders, and his buddy did the talking for him appearing Tuesday on the NFL Network’s “Total Access.” Sanders was discussing the slate of games the league will televise, including the Week 15 meeting between New Orleans and Chicago Thursday, Dec. 11 at Soldier Field.

“Come on, the quarterback problems of the Chicago Bears are still there and then they gave away every receiver they had that was halfway decent,” Sanders said. “They’re looking for tremendous things from this guy, Devin Hester, but Devin Hester isn’t happy with his contract and he deserves to be paid amongst the league’s best.

“So I look at a myriad of problems for the Chicago Bears and they’ve got to address those issues now.”

Given his injury history he’s no sure fix for the return woes of Kansas City, but he might be enough to scratch Rashied Davis off the list of possible targets for the Chiefs.

Free-agent B.J. Sams signed a one-year contract with the Chiefs today, filling a need they have been looking to solve this offseason after Eddie Drummond fizzled in the role trying to replace Dante Hall. It’s a job Kansas City could have used Davis in if it pursued the wide receiver in free agency. As it stands, Davis is now nine days away from the deadline for restricted free agents to sign an offer sheet with another club.

The luncheon Tommie Harris attended Tuesday at Maryville Academy celebrated his performance this past season.

The dinner he attended Tuesday evening zeroed in on the Pro Bowl defensive tackle’s future.

Harris got together with agents Drew and Jason Rosenhaus to meet over the Bears’ latest contract proposal. The outcome of their talks is unknown, but this is much is evident: Things are heating up when the Rosenhaus brothers come to town.

They’re not going to travel to Chicago in the offseason for a casual visit. This is business and if past negotiations with linebacker Lance Briggs are an indication, we’ll know more about Harris’ future soon.

The Bears have never had issue with the performance Lance Briggs has provided on the field. Ultimately, it’s why general manager Jerry Angelo said at the combine that he did not have a problem investing in the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker long term as a core player after he earned more than $7.2 million last season with the franchise tag.

Briggs has been a model of durability, going through the first four seasons of his career without missing a game before hamstring issues sidelined him for 2 1/2 games in 2007. He’s a perfect fit on the weak side in Lovie Smith’s Tampa Two scheme and after signing him to a $36 million, six-year contract, the Bears view him as a fixture for seasons to come.

But they’ve also protected themselves in the future. Briggs’ $3.3 million roster bonus for 2010—the final roster bonus in the deal—does not come due until June 10 of that year. That’s three months after most roster bonuses are paid at or near the start of the league year in March. What it means is the Bears will be able to decide whether or not they want to stay on the hook for the contract, or if they want to cut ties. The key is they will have time to make that decision after free agency and the draft have taken place.

Safety Brandon McGowan signed the one-year tender the Bears made him as a restricted free agent.

McGowan will earn $1.417 million this season as the team tendered him at the mid-level because of how they felt about his play at the end of last season and the lack of depth the Bears have at the position.

The Bears were awarded three compensatory draft picks Monday as the NFL Management Council announced the additional draft picks today at the owners meetings in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Based on the losses of defensive tackles Alfonso Boone and Ian Scott, wide receiver Justin Gage and safety Todd Johnson, and balanced against only the addition of defensive tackle Anthony Adams, the Bears were awarded three additional choices in the seventh round. According to a release by the league, former safety Cameron Worrell was not considered in the equation.

They add the 36th, 40th and 41st picks of the round which are 243, 247 and 248 overall. Conditional draft picks cannot be traded.

The deadline for restricted free agents to sign an offer sheet with another club is April 18, three weeks from today.

The Bears have two RFA’s who have yet to sign their tenders. Safety Brandon McGowan will probably do so soon. He received the mid-level tender for $1.417 million that would require a team to send the Bears a second-round draft pick if it signed McGowan to an offer sheet and the Bears declined to match it. Quite simply, that’s not going to happen. McGowan figures to be in the mix for a starting job after improving at the end of last season. A lot at safety will depend on what happens with Mike Brown, who’s coming off his third serious injury and will be entering the final year of his contract.