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Alshon Jeffery at the top of the Chicago Bears list of free-agents-to-be

A detailed look at the 23 Chicago Bears whose contracts will soon expire, including both Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte.

Current projections give the Chicago Bears potentially $70 million in cap space heading into the 2016 off-season. GM Ryan Pace can do some serious damage with that deep-pocket sum. 

While fans are clamoring for big-name free agents like Muhammad Wilkerson and Von Miller, a good portion of that money will be spent on re-signing the team's own free agents, most notably receiver Alshon Jeffery. 

Here's a look at the 23 soon-to-be free agents and the likelihood of each returning to Chicago. 

WR Alshon Jeffery
It's highly unlikely the Bears will allow Jeffery to hit free agency, whether that be through a contract extension or the franchise tag. Jeffery is coming off an injury riddled campaign, playing in just nine games, yet still managed to lead the team with 54 receptions and 807 receiving yards, while his 89.7 yards per contest was eighth highest in the league. Jeffery won't come cheap and will likely cost the Bears more than $10 million per season, but he's an elite wideout who is worth the investment.

RB Matt Forte
Forte is still one of the better all-around running backs in the NFL but he turned 30 in December and has likely played his last game in Chicago. With Jeremy Langford waiting in the wings, the Bears will balk at paying Forte the starting-running-back money other teams, like the Cowboys, will offer the veteran ball carrier this off-season.

LB Shea McClellin
First a defense end, then a 4-3 outside linebacker and finally a 3-4 inside linebacker, and the results were all the same. McClellin has failed to fit any of the many molds the Bears have created for him, as he lacks physicality and the ability to fight off blocks. The coaching staff, particularly defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, talked highly of McClellin's development last year but, in reality, he's a backup-level player who will very likely continue his career elsewhere. 

TE Zach Miller
If the Bears part ways with Martellus Bennett, then Miller becomes a priority re-sign candidate. He carried the passing attack down the stretch, proving his worth as a legitimate No. 1 tight end. Health is a big concern for Miller, who should be signed to a short-term, incentive-laden deal. 

C Will Montgomery
Montgomery was decent at the pivot in four games before breaking his leg. He's not a Pro Bowler but his experience could land him another one-year deal, especially following Hroniss Grasu's struggles. 

CB Tracy Porter
Porter had an up-and-down season, showing well early in the campaign but fading down the stretch. He's been an average-at-best defender throughout his career and isn't a horrible one-year option if the Bears are unable to land a more consistent corner in free agency or the draft. 

DE Jarvis Jenkins
Jenkins had a positive impact for the Bears last year both on and off the field. He was a veteran leader in the locker room who had some very good games early in the season. That said, there are probably 50 players in the league who have similar skill sets, which could make Jenkins expendable. 

OLB Sam Acho
Acho was invisible as a pass rusher last year but he did not get enough credit for his stout play against the run. As a run-down rotational outside linebacker, he deserves another one-year deal. 

OG Vladimir Ducasse
Ducasse started 11 games last year at both guard positions. He's an underrated run blocker but he was a turnstile in pass protection. His one-dimensional skill set will most likely being playing elsewhere in 2016. 

CB Alan Ball
Ball started the first three games of the season and was absolutely torched in coverage. After he basically stole $3 million from the Bears last year, I have a better chance of being signed by the Bears this upcoming off-season. 

DL Mitch Unrein
The Bears signed Unrein off the street early in the season and he proved to be the most consistent 5-technique on the team. He's not flashy but Unrein is as solid as they come and deserves to be re-signed. 

S Ryan Mundy
Even before he was placed on season-ending IR, the Bears had already moved on from Mundy. The veteran won't be returning next year. 

CB Sherrick McManis
McManis began the season as the club's starting nickelback, an experiment that ended very badly. Still, McManis is one of the league's better special teams players. If I'm the GM, McManis returns on a veteran-minimum deal. 

RB Jacquizz Rodgers
Rodgers played just five games before breaking his arm. He has value on special teams but he's replaceable. 

WR Deonte Thompson
Thompson brought life to a lifeless kick-return game in the second half of the season. His blazing speed is an asset in the return game, as well as potentially on offense. 

WR Marc Mariani
While he struggled to find consistency as a returner, Mariani was the most dependable receiver on the team last year. He was the only wideout who didn't drop a pass last season and he has the trust of Jay Cutler. He should be back. 

TE Rob Housler
Housler played 35 snaps for the Bears in 2015, almost all of which came in the season finale. The veteran has experience as a pass catcher and could provide good depth at the tight end position. 

S Chris Prosinski
Outside of one good game, Prosinski struggled as a starting safety. The six-year veteran is a depth player at best. 

S Sherrod Martin
Martin saw just 24 snaps last year. The veteran won't be returning. 

WR Josh Bellamy
Bellamy has some talent as a pass catcher but his hands are extremely unreliable. He may get another invite to training camp but it's hard to see him having a substantial impact going forward. 

OT Nick Becton
Depth player with little value on offense.

LB LaRoy Reynolds
Reynolds is a good special teams player and started one game at inside linebacker, although he struggled on defense. Take him or leave him. 

OG Patrick Omameh
After struggling with injuries early in the year, Omameh eventually started nine games at guard. He can move defenders in the run game but struggled in pass protection. The Bears can do better but as a depth player along the offensive line, he may end up signing another one-year deal. 


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