Warner in for a Visit

Kurt Warner appears to be the lead domino in the free agent quarterback market. The Bears will make their pitch to the two-time league MVP Friday.

Warner went 5-4 as a starter before being replaced by Eli Manning, who was the first overall pick in the 2004 draft.

"He has the respect of the entire Giants organization, for not only the time spent with us but the way he handled the Quarterback change," Tom Coughlin said of Warner.

Although Warner started more games last year than he did since 2001, he still showed a propensity for being sacked. The Bears took him down seven times, which accounted for 20 percent of the team's sack total for the entire season. Despite an 86.5 passer rating, Warner was sacked 39 times.

The thought of putting him behind a Bear offensive line that allowed an NFL high and franchise worst 66 sacks last season could be an injury waiting to happen.

Warner, who will turn 34 in June, is confident enough in his abilities that he's willing to compete with a younger quarterback for a starting job.

"I've got no problem putting my skill up against anybody else and may the best man win," Warner told the Arizona Republic. "All that being said, I want to find a situation where when a coach tells me that, I can believe it."

Trust is one part of the equation the Bears may have the advantage in with Warner. He and Lovie Smith are friends from their years in St. Louis.

However, that doesn't guarantee the Bears will land Warner. After his visit to Halas Hall on Friday, he'll head north to talk with the Detroit Lions.

Warner is expected to decide between the Bears, Cardinals and Lions sometime over the next week.

Brad Johnson and Jay Fiedler will come through Halas Hall over that timeframe.

Before losing his starting job to Brian Griese last season, Johnson had been the Bucs starter for five straight seasons, including a Super Bowl XXXVII victory.

The talk is that the 6-foot-5, 226-pound, Johnson has lost arm strength and the Bears want him to throw when he comes to Chicago. He will turn 37 shortly after the start of the season and is still looking for a starting role. He might have trouble finding a team willing to hand him the top spot, but the Bears history at quarterback may intrigue Johnson. The third string QB has played in each of the past two years.

"We'll see how things are and feel this out," Johnson's agent Phil Williams told the Daily Herald. "Every player in the league wants to start, or should want to. I just don't know yet (exactly where the Bears stand), but I know they want another quarterback."

Johnson is expected to visit the Miami Dolphins and Detroit before coming to Chicago.

Fiedler met with the New York Giants on Thursday as a possible replacement for Warner. The recently released 33-year old could be another good fit for the Bears. He has a 36-23 record as a starter and has postseason experience.


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