Restricted free-agent running back Kahlil Bell received a one-year $1.26 million qualifying offer from the Chicago Bearson Monday afternoon. By tendering Bell one day prior to the start of the NFL's free agency signing period, the Bears now have the right to match any offer sheet he receives from another team, but by using the low-level tender they would not receive any compensation if the former UCLA running back signs elsewhere.
According to Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune, the Bears had originally offered Bell a two-year contract including $500,000 in guaranteed money, but now his agent gets the opportunity to test the market and see if there any buyers that would be willing to pay more before the two sides revisit that potential deal. Bell rushed for 337 yards on 79 carries (4.3 yard per carry average) in 12 games of the Bears during the 2011 season, and could be considered an insurance policy if starting running back Matt Forte decides to holdout in training camp.
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