McQuarters on the Way Out

Lake Forest - While R.W. McQuarters will not attend the Bears mini-camp, GM Jerry Angelo is at Halas Hall and he spoke about the cornerback's situation as well as other pressing issues.

With Jerry Azumah and Charles Tillman established as the starting cornerbacks and the emergence of Nathan Vasher, McQuarters has become expendable because of his $3.05 million base salary.

McQuarters has been on the trade market without any takers. If Angelo is unable to work a deal, the Bears will release the 28-year-old after June 1st.

"I find it unlikely (that he'd return). So we'll address that here really in the near future," Angelo said.

Although the Bears have depth at cornerback, it would seem the team is one injury away from turning a position of strength in one of weakness.

However, Angelo doesn't agree with that assessment.

"We'll be fine," he said. "It's like anything else, if we stay healthy we're going to be in good shape there. We have numbers. So we felt good with our situation now."

If and when McQuarters is taken out of the equation, Alfonso Marshall is being groomed to move up the depth chart.

The seventh round draft choice opened the 2004 campaign on the practice squad before being elevated to the 53-man roster. He appeared in 7 games before suffering a ruptured right ACL at Tennessee on Nov. 14th.

At this point Marshall is unable to practice. As he continues to rehab from surgery and he might not be ready until training camp. Most of his experience as a rookie came in special teams, yet Angelo sees him in an expanded role.

"Yeah, we like the way like Marshall came on last year, just not on special teams but he was developing well as a corner too," Angelo said. "We drafted him so obviously we saw some things we liked and when we got him we're still seeing those things."

There have been reports with the Bears ready to dump McQuarters; the additional cap room would be used to sign Azumah to a contract extension.

Angelo admitted he would like to get something done with Azumah, who will become an unrestricted free agent at season's end. It's more likely that Azumah will test the open market.

"Yeah, we'd have a lot of interest but unfortunately I don't think it's just going to happen that way," Angelo said.

"I was kidding with him. I said, maybe just, maybe four interceptions, three sacks, an alternate to the Pro Bowl as a kick returner and then you just kind of shut it down. And I said then maybe we can talk."

"But we certainly think a lot of Jerry and we'll just address that when the time comes.

Angelo also revealed that the roster is set, which means the team won't pursue a veteran linebacker in free agency.

Anthony Simmons had recently met with the Bears about filling the vacancy at strong-side linebacker, but left without a contract offer. There was passing interest in Warrick Holdman before he landed in Washington.

Hunter Hillenmeyer is the frontrunner for the job with Joe Odom and Marcus Reese is also part of the competition.

"We talked to several people at that position and we weren't driven to sign somebody," Angelo said. "If the right guy was there and obviously it worked within the framework of the cap we would have been interested but I don't really foresee anything happening."

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