Treasure Hunt

When Jerry Angelo took over as Bears GM nearly three years ago he used an analogy that one team's trash is another's treasure. Well that came to fruition on Tuesday when it took a less than 24 hours for Phillip Daniels to land with another team after the Bears released the veteran. He will be reunited with his defensive coordinator Greg Blache with the Redskins. However Daniels may not be the only Bear headed to Washington.

Daniels has been the Bears best all-around defensive end over the past four years, but didn't provide enough pass rush for the contract he signed as a free agent from Seattle. A five-year $24 million deal is big time coin for an end that never reached double-digits in sacks.

The Bears moved Daniels to left end last year after he spent the majority of his time in Chicago on the right side. They also used him at DT on passing situations, which might hurt his numbers in 2003 as he only had 2 sacks.

In any case, Daniels did not fit into Lovie Smith's speed scheme and will be better off in Washington with Blache and from the Bears point of view they free up $4 million in cap space with the move.

The Bears didn't release Warrick Holdman Monday because they're reportedly still trying to workout a trade with the Redskins that would net them at least one draft choice. Holdman is due a $2.4 million bonus due by Friday, which something the team doesn't intend to pay.

With free agency starting at midnight tonight the Bears are poised to make a run at several free agents including Tennessee Titans DE Jevon Kearse, Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Thomas Jones and Kansas City Chiefs tackle John Tait.

All of the aforementioned players would fill needs on the roster. The team has to upgrade their pass rush after producing franchise low 17 sacks last year. A running back with speed in the new offense Terry Shea plans to run is crucial. Duce Staley's name has also been associated with the Bears considering the team nearly traded for the running back a year ago, but it seems that the Dallas Cowboys are also hot on his trail. With the future of Marc Colombo in limbo the offensive line needs a tackle that can anchor the unit. While Tait has spent time on both sides of the line, he's seen more as a right tackle. Either way he's the best option on the free agent market and knows Shea's style of blocking.

Another player that has fallen on the radar screen is New York Giants DT Cornelius Griffin. The 300-pounder could provide depth to the interior of the line, which is something the Bears lack with the departure of Keith Traylor. His speed and frame also fit into Lovie Smith's "no fat guys mantra."

The Bears will have in excess of $16 million to spend on the free agent market and should be able to sign multiple impact players. The question is whether or not the signing bonus money will be enough to attract the top free agents.


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