Bears likely to pursue Wimbley

Chicago needs to find a pass-rushing defensive end this offseason. They missed on Jeremy Mincey and could be in the market for Kamerion Wimbley, who the Raiders will likely cut today.

The Chicago Bears have one of the best pass rushers in the game in Julius Peppers. Beyond him, the club has issues at defensive end.

Israel Idonije is a decent veteran who is better against the run than he is getting after the quarterback. He had a career-high 8.0 sacks in 2010 but dropped to 5.0 last season. He just could not take full advantage of the one-on-one matchups he received as a result of opposing teams doubling Peppers.

The defensive tackles took advantage, with Henry Melton and Amboi Okoye combining for 11.0 sacks, but Idonije was silent for much of the campaign. He's currently a free agent.


DE Kamerion Wimbley
Kirby Lee/US Presswire

Behind the starters, Chicago had Nick Reed, a free-agent signing from Seattle, and undrafted rookie Mario Addison. Neither player earned a sack, or did anything of real importance. Corey Wootton dealt with knee and wrist injuries last year, from which he never seemed to full recover. The team signed Chauncey Davis in Week 10 after cutting Addison and Reed. Davis was a quality run stopper but didn't bring much as a pass rusher.

The club is staying in touch with Idonije, who hasn't received a lot of interest so far around the league, but the front office is searching for upgrades in free agency. GM Phil Emery tried to sign Jeremy Mincey away from the Jaguars on Tuesday and threw a bunch of money at him. Mincey ultimately chose to re-sign with Jacksonville.

Mario Williams, the best defensive end on the market, signed with the Buffalo Bills today, meaning the Bears need to look elsewhere.

One very good option is likely to become available at some point today. Kamerion Wimbley is due $17 million tomorrow from the Oakland Raiders, on top of the $6.5 million guaranteed for this season. The team has major salary cap issues and has asked Wimbley to take a pay cut – something he's not willing to do.

All indications are that Wimbley will be cut today, saving Oakland $17 million and clearing up $4.5 million in cap space this year.

Wimbley signed a free-agent deal with Oakland last offseason. Chicago also tried to sign him, but the Raiders' five-year, $48 million offer proved too much for the Bears to match. The team still likes him and feels he'd be a solid fit in the club's 4-3 scheme.

The 28-year-old has racked up 42.5 sacks in his six-year career. He had 16 sacks the past two years in Oakland. He's durable, having missed just one game in six seasons, and is a force against the run.

Wimbley will probably be looking for a contract around $9 million-$10 million per season. Once cut, he'll instantly become the best defensive end on the market, meaning plenty of teams will be interested.

Expect the Bears to get in touch with his agent shortly after he is released today.

Other top options at defensive end in free agency include John Abraham, Andre Carter and Mark Anderson.

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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