Reader Q&A: Chicago Bears Huddle Inbox

Reader Q&A: Chicago Bears Huddle Inbox
Could the Bears target TE Delanie Walker in Free Agency? This and oh so much more!

I felt like fielding some questions late last night, so I did. I only threw the call out on Twitter, though, so we’ll keep this one short and sweet. I will not neglect you Facebook and Google+ people next time, I promise.

Standard reminder: You can always read the entire Q&A series right here. Off to the races!

. . .

Does it look like Brian Urlacher will be staying in Chicago? – Aaron Edwards

My thoughts on Urlacher’s situation have been simple enough from the start; if the Bears get rid out him, who’s going to replace him in 2013? There are other factors of course. For one, I’m more than sure the McCaskey family would like to see him retire in Chicago, although I do not think they will force Phil Emery’s hand if it comes to that—in fact I know they won’t.

The sense I got from everything Marc Trestman had said up to this point seemed to suggest they could be preparing to move on from No. 54, but NFL Network reporter Albert Breer now says the Bears have made it clear they would like to have him back. With Urlacher not particularly interested in moving on in what would be a soft market for him, and willing to offer up a hometown discount, I think it all adds up to a final season in Chicago.

How long do you think it will take the Bears to sign all their unrestricted free agents and get their main free agent targets once Free Agency begins? – Scott Hoban

Quick! Say “free agent” 10 times fast.

Hey, Scott. The 2013 League year and NFL Free Agency will begin at 4:00 P.M. ET on Tuesday, March 12, although player negotiations can begin as of March 9. A lot will happen quickly after that date and through the month of April in terms of signing FAs, both in-house and those off the open market. The Bears will continue making a whole host of player transactions up until the start of the regular season of course, but any major free agent acquisitions will likely have been made by May.

If the Bears use the franchise tag on their only viable candidate, Henry Melton, it will ensure he remains in Chicago for 2013 (assuming they don’t then try to trade him, which would be risky), but they could still then work out a deal with him as late as mid-July. Additionally, the Bears will probably have all their draft selections under contract by the end of May.

Does Gabe Carimi have a future with the Bears? – Mr. Jordan

Right now he absolutely does. Although, he is going to have to earn a starting position in 2013, and it will be a career defining year for him. Injuries have affected his growth at the tackle position thus far, so seeing which position Bears’ offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Aaron Kromer places him at this offseason will say a lot about his future.

Let’s just be honest here; Carimi was bad at right tackle least season, but he improved his overall quality of play when moved to guard. He won’t be moved to left tackle at any point, so it’s possible that his future is as a guard, where he is indeed a strong run blocker. He’s under contract through 2014, and he’s due about $4.26M for the next two seasons combined. Not a great price should he continue to regress.

What type of backup QB could we see? Last season the Bears committed big money to a bust. Is it a young learner or another veteran in 2013? – Colonel Sandurz

Great question. Now that the QB Whisperer is in town—a la Marc Trestman—I guess nobody really knows what his preference will be. Jason Campbell and Josh McCown both drop off the roster this season, and Campbell will draw interest on the open market, although he didn’t do himself any favors last season in terms of a payday. The only other QB under contract for 2013 other than Jay Cutler is Matt Blanchard. So, what do they do?

The time is coming when the Bears will have to start thinking about drafting a QB for the future. I actually wouldn’t have said it would be crazy to nab someone in the second round this year if the class wasn’t so thin. Maybe a tad premature, but not crazy. But since the class is thin, I suspect Phil Emery will have a litany of players higher on his board in the second (they have no third-rounder). That means signing another free agent and letting him compete with Blanchard in camp.

As for who that will be, I don’t think the numbers will work to bring Jason Campbell back. I do think there is a chance that McCown, who Jay Cutler absolutely loves by the way, returns. But as the team’s backup, I’m not so sure. This one remains to be seen.

With Beatty signed in New York, is Jermon Bushrod the most like free agent offensive tackle target for the Bears? – Teddy Robinson

Bushrod is a target given his abilities and connection to Aaron Kromer, but the Saints are doing everything in their power to re-sign him, restructuring deals to create cap space. The wildcard here is Brandon Albert in Kansas City. With the Chiefs owning the No. 1 overall pick in the Draft, and with speculation that it could go to left tackle prospect Luke Joeckel, the question is why they would keep two natural lefties on the roster, especially when they don’t have loads of cap space to work with (they’re not in bad shape, mind you), and when they have a ton of other holes to plug?

Now, all of that is speculation of course, and there are too many variables to get excited about anything. The other side of this is the Bears’ own salary cap situation. If they want to target one of the top tackles in Free Agency, they will need to do some funny money restructuring and/or extending of their own to make room. If I had my pick between Bushrod and Albert, it’s going to be Brandon Albert every time.

What’s TE Delanie Walker’s story? I’d love to see him in a Bears uniform. Is he restricted? Because if he’s not, he should be a free agent target. – Frank Daczewitz

He is unrestricted and could absolutely be a target for Chicago. There is some chatter that the 49ers could actually use the franchise tag on him if they don’t apply it to free safety Dashon Goldson, but I don’t really think that’s very likely. He would be a solid passing option for the Bears and is a darn good special teamer, too.

My gut tells me he gets a deal worked out with the team that took him to the Super Bowl last season and stays put in San Fran. What could draw him away, however, would be an opportunity to start on another team as opposed pulling second-string detail behind Vernon Davis. It’s because of that that I’m sure he will test the waters and may indeed find someone willing to overcompensate him for his services. The Bears could be that team.

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