Restricted gamble

The Bears lost D'Wayne Bates and overpaid to keep <!--Default NodeId For Warrick Holdman is 292210,2002--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:292210]>Warrick Holdman</A> in the restricted free agent market in 2002. This year the team is taking a similar chance.

While, the box has been checked that might not discourage teams from going after some of the Bears restricted free agents.

The team offered the lowest tender to restricted free agents Paul Edinger, Mike Green and Dez White, meaning they will all come back with one-year deals for $605,000.

Edinger and Green were drafted in the sixth and seventh rounds respectively, thus that's all a team would have to give up to sign either of them to a contract.

The Bears informed former Pro Bowl special teams performer Larry Whigham and cornerback Reggie Austin they will not be back. It looks like running back Leon Johnson will not be offered a contract.

Also, a modest salary reduction for defensive lineman Bryan Robinson will be finalized soon.

Jim Miller wasn't quiet upon his release from the Bears. The quarterback said he felt betrayed by a team that he played hurt for the majority of the season.

"I played through a year full of injuries, they're telling me, 'Play, play, play,' and then this is the way they treat you," Miller told WBBM-AM 780.

This is the second straight year that the team has let a veteran player who played through pain go after the season. Blake Brockermeyer battled through knee injuries in 2001 to play in all 16 regular season games. He was subsequently cut after the team realized he wouldn't be ready for training camp.

For the short term the release of Miller and James "Big Cat" Williams puts the Bears approximately $12 million under the salary cap. However, in the future a player could think twice about playing through pain for "the good of the team."

With free agency underway the team has scheduled Kordell Stewart in for a visit next week. The quarterback was cut by the Steelers Wednesday in –like everything else- a salary cap related move.

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