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Chicago Bears Free Agency 2012: Bears Are Front-Runners For DE Mario Williams, According To Report

NFL free agency kicks off tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 p.m., and according to one report, the Chicago Bears are the front-runners to sign marquee defensive end Mario Williams.

John Mullin has been on the NFL beat for ages, and wrote today at Comcast SportsNet that Chicago is the favorite to sign Williams according to "a number of NFL sources". Given coach Lovie Smith's obsession with pass rushers, the rumor doesn't seem far-fetched.

Chicago is looking to take pressure off Julius Peppers by pairing him with another star defensive end, and Williams would appear to be a perfect fit. Williams had five sacks in five games a year ago for the Houston Texans before suffering a torn pectoral muscle that ended his season.

It's worth noting that Williams hasn't reached double-digit sacks since 2008 when he tallied 12 for Houston. The Bears have upwards of $20 million in salary cap space, but are expected to face plenty of competition for the former No. 1 overall pick.

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

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