Is Gildon still a possibility?

With only about $1 million under the cap the Bears flexibility to pursue free agents is limited. Still adding Jason Gildon, who is the best pass-rusher on the market, is an intriguing option.

"I think everybody that's available will be a possibility until we actually set the 53-man roster we're looking at," said Lovie Smith about the possibility of pursuing Gildon. "I like what our defensive ends have done in the off-season. Right now we're going in thinking that we're going to choose our 53-man roster from what we have now."

At this point it appears the Bengals are the front-runner's for Gildon. The up-and-coming Bengals have plenty of salary-cap space, but perhaps more importantly, Gildon starred at Pittsburgh while Bengals coach Marvin Lewis coached the Steelers' linebackers.

Gildon was released by Pittsburgh in a salary-cap related move June 1. He recorded just six sacks last season, too few for a player who would have counted nearly $5 million against the Steelers' salary cap. The former Pro Bowler is Pittsburgh's all-time leader in sacks with 77.

At age 32, the declining production may simply mean Gildon is past his prime. Gildon tallied 13.5 sacks in 2000 and was an All-Pro after piling up a dozen sacks in 2001. His sack numbers dropped to nine in 2002 and six last season.

The concern is the lack of depth and experience behind starters Alex Brown and Michael Haynes. Gildon would not be expected to an every down contributor, but could definitely a situational pass-rusher.

Gildon has to visit Halas Hall, so Jerry Angelo isn't pursuing him heavily. Although the fact that Green Bay is also contemplating signing the veteran may force the Bears GM to reevaluate his position.


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