Bears Free Agency 2012: Matt Forte, Israel Idonije Among Free Agents

The Chicago Bears have 14 players that can hit free agency during this offseason, including Matt Forte, Israel Idonije and Tim Jennings.

The Chicago Bears are entering the 2012 offseason with 53 players under contract for next season, but they still have a whole bunch of work to do if they want to retain some other key players from last year's team. Obviously the most notable free agent for Chicago is running back Matt Forte, who was in the midst of a breakout season before getting injured in early December.

Forte's contract situation with Chicago has become increasingly public as the two sides have been quoted in the media, but the general expectation is that he'll once again be the starting running back for the Bears in 2012. The two sides are still trying to hammer out a long-term extension, but the Bears have said that they'll play the franchise tag on Forte if they can't reach an agreement. That came in spite of the running back's public lack of interest in being tagged.

Here's a full list of Chicago's free agents:

Restricted Free Agents (1)

RB Kahlil Bell

Unrestricted Free Agents (13)

QB Caleb Hanie

QB Josh McCown

RB Matt Forte

WR Roy Williams

TE Kellen Davis

DE Israel Idonije

DT Amobi Okoye

CB Zack Bowman

CB Corey Graham

CB Tim Jennings

S Brandon Meriweather (cannot be franchised)

S Craig Steltz

LS Chris Massey

The other big names to note here are Idonije, Williams, Davis and Jennings. All four started the majority of Chicago's games in 2011, respectively, and Idonije has been a key part of the Bears' defensive line over the past two seasons, starting 31 games and accumulating 13 sacks.

Stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago for more information, and for in-depth analysis on theChicago Bears be sure to visit Windy City Gridiron. Visit SB Nation NFL for more news and notes around the league.

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