Free Agent News Heating Up

The Bears re-signed Terrence Metcalf on Friday and now have their sights set on strengthening the team in free agency. There is money to spend, but what player already on the market did general manger Jerry Angelo say the team could pursue? Find out inside.

Scout.com takes a look around the NFL three days before the scheduled start of free agency.

Houston Texans – The team has their eye on former Denver Broncos TE Jeb Putzier and a deal could get done as soon as over the next few days. The athletic Putzier a very good fit for head coach Gary Kubiak's West Coast offense and is the pass catching threat at the position that the team has been looking for. Should the team and Putzier not be able to come to a contract agreement, look for him to turn his attention to the Bears, New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers.

Although the Bears are not the frontrunners for Putzier, adding a tight end of his quality is intriguing. General manager Jerry Angelo said there could be some possible interest in him, but the team will take a wait and see approach at the position. He also admitted that drafting a tight end from a deep crop would be preferable, but the team has a recent history of addressing the position in free agency. They signed Desmond Clark on the first day of free agency in 2003.

Angelo also admitted that signing Pro Bowl LB Lance Briggs to a long-term deal is a priority and will use part of the team's $17 million in cap space to try to get a deal done.

Arizona Cardinals – While scout.com noted earlier this year that the team has USC RB Lendale White at the top of their list to select in April's draft, they also are very interested in Ohio St. LB A.J. Hawk. According to a team source, the Cardinals are looking for an impact defensive player on the first day of the draft and also a few second tier defensive linemen in free agency.

Indianapolis Colts – Don't expect the team to make a very hard run at re-signing SLB David Thornton. The strong side linebacker isn't an important position in the defensive scheme that the team runs. If Thornton signs elsewhere, it could be to play the weakside where he's better suited to play.

Kansas City Chiefs – All-Pro G Will Shields is still expected to be released on Sunday evening despite not being released with the other veterans earlier this week. It's believed that Shields is still interested in re-signing with the team and it's his preference to end his career as a Chief.

Minnesota Vikings – The smart speculation is that the team has their eye on Carolina Panthers WLB Will Witherspoon who is set to become an unrestricted free agent. The weakside linebacker is very important in the scheme defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin will run (see Derrick Brooks and Lance Briggs). With lots of available salary cap space, they could make it very hard for the Panthers or any other team to sign Witherspoon.

New England Patriots – Don't be surprised if the team winds up trading veteran TE Daniel Graham by April's draft. The former first-round pick has been underutilized in the passing offense in recent seasons and is on the final year of his contract at only $545,000. The team is very high on third-year TE Ben Watson and likely will increase his role going forward.

New York Giants – Barring something unforeseen, look for CB Will Allen to be playing elsewhere next season. The Giants don't have the salary cap space to sign him to a lucrative deal. Look for them to move in second-year CB Corey Webster in to Allen's starting spot next season.

Philadelphia Eagles – The team usually likes to make a quick strike on the first day of free agency. If free agency isn't pushed back again and it starts on Monday, look for the Eagles to sign one to two impact free agents.

As scout.com first reported earlier this week, the team has interest in New York Jets C Kevin Mawae who has been told he'll be released. Mawae, interestingly enough, the team was very interested in signing during free agency of 1998. Instead, they signed C Steve Everett who was the No.1 rated offensive lineman in free agency that year.

The team has been compiling a list of available free agent centers and also has their eye on ones that will be released so it's a virtual lock that one is signed.

Speculation is that they'll sign New Orleans Saints C LeCharles Bentley who scout.com reported back at the Super Bowl wouldn't be re-signing with the Saints.

According to a team source, the team may also make a run at New England Patriots WR David Givens. It may come down to how much money he wants. Most teams view him as a complimentary receiver not a true No.1. The Eagles view second-year pro Reggie Brown as a No.1 receiver so if Givens wants to be paid like a No. 1, he'll likely be signing elsewhere.

The team is also looking for a veteran backup quarterback and has is said to have their eyes on Jay Fiedler who was recently released by the Jets and Jeff Garcia (Detroit Lions).

Seattle Seahawks – According to a source with knowledge of the situation, negotiations have intensified between the representative of RB Shaun Alexander and the team. However, the feeling is that if a collective bargaining agreement isn't completed before free agency starts, Alexander probably will be shopping his services to more than Seattle.


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