Veteran QB Search Continues

Halas Hall continues to be a turnstile for free agents. The Bears signed Fred Miller on Monday, visited with QB Jay Fiedler on Tuesday and will host Brad Johnson on Thursday.

With Kurt Warner out of the picture the Bears have targeted Fiedler and Johnson as the top remaining free agent quarterbacks.

At 33, Fiedler now finds himself at a career crossroads. He has said he wanted to sign with a team that would give him a chance to become a starter but those opportunities may be greatly limited.

Suitors for Fiedler's services are dwindling. He visited with the New York Giants a week ago, but the team signed Jim Miller to a one-year deal to backup Eli Manning.

While Fiedler still considers the Giants as an outside option, he will likely choose between the Bears and the New York Jets. He will visit with Jets officials on Thursday and plans to make a decision by the weekend.

Fiedler said the opportunity to go home would be an added bonus of signing with the Jets, but he's more concerned with an opportunity to play.

"Obviously, I know they're looking for another guy right now and it's intriguing because whoever comes in is going to get a lot of opportunities to get some reps with the starting unit throughout the off-season while Chad is rehabbing," Fiedler said of the Jets situation with Chad Pennington recovering from shoulder surgery on his throwing arm.

The circumstances aren't the same in Chicago. With Rex Grossman returning from knee surgery he's going to need as many snaps as he can get before the start of the season.

"You know here the reps are going to be a little bit more limited," Fiedler said.

Even without an open quarterback competition in Chicago, there is an appealing side of playing for the Bears.

"There's a great nucleus of young talent here," Fiedler said. "I think they've done a nice job in this off-season getting (Muhsin) Muhammad and Fred Miller recently and upgrading the offensive talent there."

Despite inferior offensive talent to work with at wide receiver as well as instability at offensive coordinator, with Miami having gone through four of them since the 2000 season, Fiedler has a 36-23 record as a starter.

Fiedler could make an ideal backup, as he excels in making smart decisions and effectively managing an offense. He would play mentor for Grossman and Chad Hutchison, who have a combined 20 starts between them.

"It's a situation to come in and be around a couple other quarterbacks who don't necessarily have a lot of NFL experience, for me to come in and work with them and gain a relationship around here and try to earn the respect of the people in this organization," Fiedler said. "I think this organization has a great history, great tradition and I see a lot of wins in the future, in the near future here."

The Bears are not waiting on Fiedler; the team is scheduled to meet with Brad Johnson on Thursday.

There is a chance will not sign either quarterback and wait for the competition thin out before addressing their final need in free agency.

Miami released Fiedler to clear $6.35 million against the salary cap. The move was expected, as Fiedler was replaced by A.J. Feeley as a starter midway through last season.

Fiedler has struggled to stay healthy in four of five seasons, ending last season on injured reserve with a neck injury. He passed his physical with Bears doctors on Tuesday.

Fiedler, though, showed his toughness by consistently playing through pain.

"I'm looking forward to getting back out on the field," Fiedler said. "It was a frustrating year for me last season with the injury ending my season a little bit early."


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