Free Agent Files: THURSDAY UPDATE

BearReport.com has put together a list of everything that has happened so far in free agency pertinent to your Chicago Bears. If a signing is announced or a visit is scheduled, this is the place to find out the very latest updates during this pivotal period for the Monsters of the Midway.

LB Brendon Ayanbadejo
Ayanbadejo signed a four-year, $4.925 million contract Thursday with the Ravens, an offer the Bears refused to match even though the special-teams ace wanted to give Chicago another chance at keeping him. Jerry Angelo announced earlier this week that he had pulled his original offer to Ayanbadejo off the table and was prepared to go a different direction. He's a sensational special-teamer and has gone to the last two Pro Bowls, but Dave Toub is arguably the best special teams coach in the league and can probably get the job done without his top coverage guy.

RB Julius Jones
Jones has been drawing interest lately from the Titans, who are looking for a change-up to LenDale White in the backfield since Naperville native Chris Brown remains unsigned. It would be newsworthy if the Bears made some movement to bring in Jones for a visit because he's the younger brother of Thomas Jones, the same Thomas Jones who kept Cedric Benson out of the starting lineup for two seasons. It's common knowledge that Benson did not get along very well with Thomas, so perhaps the signing of Julius would put that much-needed chip back on his shoulder.

G Jake Scott
Scott has been a starter at guard for 48 straight games on what has been one of the best offenses in the league for quite some time now, although the Colts seem content to let him leave Indianapolis as a free agent. According to Adam Caplan of Scout.com, Scott visited Wednesday with the Titans and is expected to meet with the Texans next. The Bears are still in need of a replacement for Ruben Brown at left guard, although they have been awfully passive in their search.

S Brandon McGowan
McGowan was given a $1.417 million tender offer by the Bears, which means it would cost another team a second-round draft pick in order to sign him away from Chicago. That virtually guarantees that he'll return to the Windy City, because no general manager can justify that kind of compensation for an injury-prone safety with only 11 career starts in three seasons. That being said, the Bears still believe McGowan can be a solid player one day, and his ability to play both strong and free is a good option to have in the secondary.

WR Rashied Davis
Davis is a restricted free agent and was only given the low tender offer of $927,000 by the Bears, meaning another team could sign him and leave Chicago with zero compensation because he was not originally a draft pick. While Davis made some clutch catches on third down in the Super Bowl campaign of 2006, he wasn't much of a factor on offense this past season and only registered 17 receptions. Even with Bernard Berrian leaving via free agency and Muhsin Muhammad being released, Davis doesn't appear to be that high of a priority at Halas Hall these days and isn't getting much attention on the open market.

WR Marty Booker
Booker re-signed Tuesday with the Bears after a four-year stint in Miami, where he was traded to for Adewale Ogunleye before the 2004 season. The passing game was in desperate need of a veteran presence because of all the youth and inexperience now being counted on, plus Booker brings a possession-receiver element that looked to be absent from the depth chart. However, there is still a need for more talent at the wideout position, so look for Jerry Angelo to select another pass-catcher on Day 1 of April's draft.

DT Jimmy Kennedy
Kennedy came to Chicago late last season after all the injuries the team suffered at defensive tackle, but the former first-rounder was in on just two tackles in three games. The Jaguars signed Kennedy to an offer sheet upon their trade of former Pro Bowler Marcus Stroud to the Bills, and the Bears decided Tuesday not to match it – they will receive no compensation. Matt Toeaina, who the Midway Monsters got off the Cincinnati practice squad about the same time Kennedy was inked, made much more of an impact and should be in the rotation this coming season.

WR Javon Walker
Walker signed a six-year deal Tuesday with the Raiders that includes $16 million in guaranteed money, which is an awful lot for a player coming off a multitude of knee problems. Bears fans are quite familiar with Walker, who was a big-play receiver in Green Bay before moving on to Denver after the 2005 season. Oakland was in the market for a deep threat because of the presence of JaMarcus Russell and his cannon of an arm, but it remains to be seen if Walker can get fully healthy and resemble the player that earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2004.

OT Anthony Clement
Clement was released Tuesday by the Jets, who replaced him in the starting lineup by signing free agent Damien Woody the day before. A massive body at 6-8 and 320 pounds, Clement is a better run blocker than pass protector and could be a mild upgrade over the departed Fred Miller at right tackle. Although he is soon to be 32 years old, and this team needs to get younger up front at all costs as opposed to bringing in another veteran on the decline.

WR Isaac Bruce
Bruce was reunited Tuesday with Mike Martz, his former head coach with the Rams who is currently the offensive coordinator in San Francisco, after signing a two-year contract with the 49ers for $6 million. One of the more underrated receivers in NFL history, Bruce has six seasons with at least 75 catches and eight times he's put up over 1,000 yards receiving. A brilliant route-runner and consummate professional, he could have been invaluable in Chicago sharing his tricks of the trade with the likes of Mark Bradley and Devin Hester.

John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.


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