Still in the hunt

The Bears have reportedly made an offer to Ephraim Salaam. At this point the length and dollar amount are unknown, but GM Jerry Angelo only has about $3 million in cap space after signing John Tait.

"We now have a smaller cap to work from within our cap. We certainly are looking at several players, he is a possibility," Angelo said of Salaam.

During Tait's introductory press conference head coach Lovie Smith backed Qasim Mitchell. However it would a risk to rely on Mitchell, who started two games in December before fracturing his fibula. Adding Salaam would at the very least give the Bears depth at tackle and would allow him and Mitchell to compete for a starting job in training camp.

Baltimore looks to be out of the running for Salaam after re-signing Orlando Brown. At this point the Bears main competitor for Salaam is the Seattle. The Seahawks want Salaam to play right tackle because they have perennial Pro Bowler Walter Jones on the left side.

Salaam, who has played both right and left tackle during his six-year career, has been a durable performer, starting 85 regular season games between stints with Atlanta and Denver.

While Warren Sapp doesn't look to be on the Bears radar, Angelo is still looking to add depth on the defensive line, specifically in a backup capacity. Angelo said he would not sign a player just to fill a need. The individual has to be a good fit in the overall scheme of things.

"It's not like we've got a twenty that's burning a hole in our pocket," Angelo said. "We're going to spend when we feel the right player (is available) and we're going to get better as a football team. We do have some room and if that right person is there then we'll pursue it."

MAKING THE ROUNDS
The Vikings have basically traded one former Bear receiver for another. Minnesota released D'Wayne Bates Tuesday. The receiver spent two seasons with the Vikings after signing as a free agent. He was expected to excel opposite Randy Moss, but after a 50-reception season in 2002 he caught just 15 balls last year.

The move comes a week after signing Marcus Robinson to a four-year deal worth $9.2 million. Robinson is now the next receiver that is supposed to take advantage of Moss receiving double teams.


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