Phase two

April is a month known for the draft and that's where the Bears have turned their attention. However, lets take a look back at the teams free agent comings and goings as well as their draft needs.

NEEDS/DRAFT PRIORITIES: Pass rusher (DE or OLB), QB, OT. With SLB Rosey Colvin gone to New England, the Bears have a void in what was a mediocre pass rush to begin with. Colvin had 10.5 sacks in each of he past two seasons. Last year, the next two Bears sackers, DE Phillip Daniels and MLB Brian Urlacher, combined for 10, and no one else had more than three.

The addition of Kordell Stewart to replace Jim Miller as the starter doesn't eliminate the need for a young quarterback to groom for the future. No. 2 Chris Chandler will probably be canned shortly, and last year's No. 3, Henry Burris, is a long shot to return, although he should be in camp after a season in NFL Europe. RFA Cory Sauter, last year's No. 4, received the lowest qualifying offer of $605,000, and he could have a future in Chicago.

With the release of James "Big Cat" Williams, Marc Colombo and Mike Gandy are the tentative starters. Colombo made progress as a rookie last season, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury and may not be the answer on the left side. Gandy played there after Colombo was hurt, but he had always been a guard prior to last season.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: OL Kevin Dogins (journeyman backup whose role will be played by younger players with more upside); DT Christian Peter (only chance to return is if Keith Traylor and/or Bryan Robinson are trimmed for cap reasons); S Larry Whigham (only real role was on special teams; won't be back).

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers): CB Reggie Austin (not tendered as RFA; coming off torn ACL).

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: S Mike Green (tendered at $605,000 with 7th-round pick as compensation; led all NFL defensive backs in tackles last season, but that was partly because he didn't make many plays on the ball. Started all 16 games); CB Todd McMillon (tendered at $605,000 with no compensation); WR Dez White (tendered at $605,000 with 3rd-round pick as compensation; has made some progress, but it's been in fits and starts).

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: TE John Davis (UFA; $555,000/1 yr, $25,000 SB; 2003 cap: $475,000); PK Paul Edinger (RFA; matched Vikings offer $7M/5 yrs, $600,000 SB/$1M RB; 2003 cap: $1.57M); LB Bobbie Howard (ERFA; $375,000/1 yr); FB Stanley Pritchett (UFA; $680,000/1 yr, $25,000 SB; 2003 cap: $475,000); QB Cory Sauter (RFA; terms unknown); DE Joe Tafoya (potential ERFA; $375,000/1 yr)

PLAYERS ACQUIRED: TE Desmond Clark (UFA Dolphins; $9M/6 yrs, $1M SB/$1M RB; 2003 cap: $1.7M); QB Kordell Stewart (FA Steelers; $5M/2 yrs, $1.75M SB; 2003 cap: $2.375M).

PLAYERS LOST: LB Rosevelt Colvin (UFA Patriots; $25.9M/6 yrs, $6M SB); RB/KR Leon Johnson (UFA Rams; $530,000/1 yr, SB unknown); QB Jim Miller (cut/Signed with Buccaneers; incentive laden/1yr, SB unknown); WR Willie Spencer (cut); OT James Williams (cut).

MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.


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