Decision Day

It appears the Chiefs will not match the Bears offer for John Tait, but nothing will be for certain until 11 p.m. (Central Time) tonight.

When the Chiefs selected Tait in the first-round of the 1999 draft, contract negotiations with GM Carl Peterson were anything but smooth. Tait held out for a period of time. While seasons have passed that incident has not been completely forgotten by either side, which is partly the reason the Chiefs will take every waking second before they notify Tait and the Bears of their intentions on matching the 6-year $34 million offer.

All signs to Kansas City moving on as they've looked at other options at right tackle including visiting with Barry Stokes and Chris Bober. Former Bear and current Chiefs, Marcus Spears, is also being considered as a possible replacement.

Tait seems to be resigned to becoming a Bear as he and have his wife have been shopping for a home in the Chicagoland area. The Bears believe he will have a home at right tackle. The addition of Tait will give the offensive line four solid members along with Rex Tucker, Olin Kreutz and Mike Gandy replacing Chris Villarrial.

Left tackle is still an area Jerry Angelo is working to improve. Ephraim Salaam has had preliminary talks with the Bears about coming to Chicago. However there are at least two other teams interested in Salaam, who like Tait has experience at both tackle spots.

Another tackle hit the open market on Thursday as the Carolina Panthers cut veteran Todd Steussie. He had two years remaining on a five-year contract and was to count $5.8 million against this year's salary cap. At 33, Steussie would be a stopgap as his best days are likely behind him, but it could buy the Bears enough time to draft and groom a replacement.

In other free agent news another player both Angelo and Lovie Smith are familiar with looks to be available. John Lynch has been told by the Bucs that he has permission to talk with other teams about a trade. It's unlikely that any club would surrender a draft pick for the 33-year-old veteran safety, so Tampa will likely release him soon.

The New York Jets look to be the frontrunner for Lynch's services due to his relationship with head coach Herman Edwards. The Colts and Falcons are also possible destinations with the Bears trailing the pack.

Cross another pass rusher off the market after defensive end Marcellus Wiley inked a four-year deal with Dallas. A week after being released by the Chargers, Wiley received a $16 million contract with a $4.5 million signing bonus.

Wiley, who has 41 sacks in four seasons with Buffalo and three with San Diego, had his worst season last year with the Chargers. He had only three sacks after recording 13 in 2001, when he made the Pro Bowl.


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