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Bears have plenty of decisions to make as free agency nears

Anthony Adams

The Bears can’t afford to take a step back at defensive tackle. Adams is underrated, does the dirty work inside and excels against the run. His return might depend on whether Angelo thinks he can find a better all-around talent.Desmond Clark

The veteran tight end never found a home in Mike Martz’s offense and was inactive for all but five games. In this case, it’s not a matter of whether the Bears want Clark back. Why would Clark want to return when he could have a bigger role elsewhere?

Todd Collins

Collins is through in Chicago. The 16-year veteran is contemplating retirement. If he does decide to play next season, it will be for another team.

Rashied Davis

Some wondered whether Davis would be cut during camp, but he has proved to be so valuable that he made former third-round pick Juaquin Iglesias expendable. Not only is he a standout special-teams performer, but he deserves a more prominent role as a receiver.

Corey Graham

Special-teams coordinator Dave Toub needs players like Graham, who led the league in special-teams tackles. With D.J. Moore taking over at nickel back, Graham doesn’t have much of a role on defense, which might prompt him to look for more playing time elsewhere.

Brian Iwuh

He was signed because of his special-teams prowess, but he proved to be a capable backup linebacker. He turned heads during camp and became a solid backup.

Danieal Manning

He has played every position in the secondary during his career but finally has found a home at strong safety, where he had his best season. He is also one of the NFL’s top kick returners, making him a versatile all-around player the Bears should want back even with Major Wright and Chris Harris on the roster.

Brad Maynard

Although the veteran punter didn’t have one of his better seasons, he remains the best in the league at dropping punts inside the 20 and finished the regular season strong. He also holds for kicker Robbie Gould, who wants him back. The best-case scenario is he should expect plenty of competition in camp.Nick Roach

The former Northwestern standout is a big reason the Bears might have the deepest linebacking corps in the league. He has battled injuries but plays capably whenever he’s called upon. After four seasons as a backup, he might be lured away by a starting role.

Pisa Tinoisamoa

The veteran linebacker has battled injuries but is effective when healthy. The Bears likely would want Tinoisamoa to return for the right price, but only for the right price.

Garrett Wolfe

The former NIU star hasn’t earned playing time on offense but has been consistent on special teams. The hope that he would blossom into a player worthy of a third-round draft pick is dwindling.

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



As the last two seasons wound down, it was natural to wonder whether either would be center Olin Kreutz’s last. He is one of the longest-tenured players in Bears history and admits the days of being considered one of the NFL’s elite players at his position are behind him.

His value to the Bears was on display this season, though. If you don’t believe it, imagine where a makeshift line would’ve been without Kreutz making reads and recognizing blitzes.

At this time last year, Josh Beekman was considered the heir apparent at center. With Beekman gone, the only obvious long-term replacement is Edwin Williams, who was signed off the Washington Redskins’ practice squad and has made only five career starts — all at guard.

Kreutz is one of 14 Bears who will become unrestricted free agents when the collective-bargaining agreement is settled, whenever that might be. Despite his advanced age, retaining him for at least one more season to help ease the transition for the next center should be a priority — unless another veteran anchor can be acquired.

It’s not just the players with expiring contracts whom general manager Jerry Angelo must worry about, either. Players such as running back Matt Forte and safety Chris Harris, who tied for the team lead with five interceptions, will enter the final seasons of their contracts in 2011 and are deserving of extensions.

Caleb Hanie, meanwhile, will be a restricted free agent, meaning the Bears can match any offer for a backup quarterback whose stock is rising after he ignited the offense in the NFC Championship Game loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Here’s a look at some of the Bears’ other key unrestricted free agents and the likelihood that they will return to the team next season:

Anthony Adams

The Bears can’t afford to take a step back at defensive tackle. Adams is underrated, does the dirty work inside and excels against the run. His return might depend on whether Angelo thinks he can find a better all-around talent.

Desmond Clark

The veteran tight end never found a home in Mike Martz’s offense and was inactive for all but five games. In this case, it’s not a matter of whether the Bears want Clark back. Why would Clark want to return when he could have a bigger role elsewhere?

Todd Collins

Collins is through in Chicago. The 16-year veteran is contemplating retirement. If he does decide to play next season, it will be for another team.

Rashied Davis

Some wondered whether Davis would be cut during camp, but he has proved to be so valuable that he made former third-round pick Juaquin Iglesias expendable. Not only is he a standout special-teams performer, but he deserves a more prominent role as a receiver.

Corey Graham

Special-teams coordinator Dave Toub needs players like Graham, who led the league in special-teams tackles. With D.J. Moore taking over at nickel back, Graham doesn’t have much of a role on defense, which might prompt him to look for more playing time elsewhere.

Brian Iwuh

He was signed because of his special-teams prowess, but he proved to be a capable backup linebacker. He turned heads during camp and became a solid backup.

Danieal Manning

He has played every position in the secondary during his career but finally has found a home at strong safety, where he had his best season. He is also one of the NFL’s top kick returners, making him a versatile all-around player the Bears should want back even with Major Wright and Chris Harris on the roster.

Brad Maynard

Although the veteran punter didn’t have one of his better seasons, he remains the best in the league at dropping punts inside the 20 and finished the regular season strong. He also holds for kicker Robbie Gould, who wants him back. The best-case scenario is he should expect plenty of competition in camp.

Nick Roach

The former Northwestern standout is a big reason the Bears might have the deepest linebacking corps in the league. He has battled injuries but plays capably whenever he’s called upon. After four seasons as a backup, he might be lured away by a starting role.

Pisa Tinoisamoa

The veteran linebacker has battled injuries but is effective when healthy. The Bears likely would want Tinoisamoa to return for the right price, but only for the right price.

Garrett Wolfe

The former NIU star hasn’t earned playing time on offense but has been consistent on special teams. The hope that he would blossom into a player worthy of a third-round draft pick is dwindling.



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