NFL free agency begins in earnest at 3 p.m. CT on Tuesday, and the Chicago Bears have plenty of money to spend -- roughly $27M after factoring the franchise cap hit for Matt Forte. Unfortunately, the Bears also have plenty of needs at wide receiver, on the offensive line, in the defensive secondary and across from Julius Peppers on the defensive line. Defensive end Mario Williams is still the prize of the free agent field in 2012 for the Bears, but if the bidding gets out of hand, there are plenty of other options in the additional areas of need that Phil Emery could quickly address at a lesser cost.
Ryan Van Bibber of SB Nation looked at the top NFL free agents and some potential destinations, and the Bears showed up more than a few times. Big names include safety LaRon Landy, wide receiver Vincent Jackson, offensive guard Ben Grubbs and wide receiver Marques Colston. Here are the breakdowns he provided for each player:
Vincent Jackson - Jackson is very good, and he can expect stupid money in free agency, something along the lines of $10-11 million per season.
Potential destinations: Buffalo, Chicago, Tampa Bay, Buffalo
Marques Colston - Some team is going to pay Colston top-tier money. Some team is going to be very disappointed with the return on its investment. His success was due in large part to the Saints offense, where he often found himself in single coverage working out of the slot.
Potential destinations: Chicago, New Orleans
Ben Grubbs - This is a good year for free agent guards. Baltimore would really like to have Grubbs back in the fold.
Potential destinations: Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas
Mario Williams - Peyton Manning will get all the headlines, but Williams is the best free agent to hit the market in a long, long time. Pure pass rushers in the prime of their careers are worth every penny.
Potential destinations: Chicago, Seattle, Tennessee
LaRon Landry - Comically oversized biceps aside, Landry is a big risk given his injury history. He could also be a big reward for a team willing to take the chance, if they are capable of keeping him on the field.
Potential destinations: Chicago, New York Jets
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