Bears release Chandler

The Bears cut ties with veteran quarterback Chris Chandler today. In all likelihood, it also will mean the end of his 16-year career.

The move doesn't come as a surprise considering the addition of Jonathan Quinn at the start of free agency. Chicago will save about $1.45 million in cap space by waiving Chris Chandler, which could pave the way for an addition to the roster.

The team offered Ephriam Salaam a contract earlier in the week, but the two sides have yet to have reached an agreement.

Jonathan Quinn now stands as Rex Grossman's backup. Giving Quinn that responsibility shouldn't be too much for him to bear because he's spent the past two seasons in the same offense. The Bears are likely to add another quarterback on the second day of next month's draft.

Chandler, who was acquired by the Bears as an unrestricted free agent on April 15, 2002, played two seasons in Chicago and started 13 of 17 games played, leading the Bears to five wins as a starter. He established an NFL record on Oct. 20, 2002, becoming the first player in NFL history to start for seven different teams (Bears, Atlanta Falcons, Houston Oilers, Los Angeles Rams, Phoenix Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts).

Chandler ranks among the active, career NFL-passing leaders following his 10th consecutive season of throwing for more than 1,000 yards with the Bears in 2003, ranking fifth in career completions (2,293), passing yards (28,021) and TD passes (168) while ranking sixth in career attempts (3,943). During his two seasons with the Bears he completed 210 of 353 passes for 2,073 yards with seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Exclusive free agents G Steve Edwards and WR Ahmad Merritt and restricted free agent Mike Gandy each signed their one-year tenders this week. Each of the three received qualifying offers prior to the March 2 deadline.

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