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When <!--Default NodeId For Jeff Blake is 266125,2002--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:266125]>Jeff Blake</A> signed with the <!--Default NodeId For Arizona is 112,2005--><A HREF=http://cardinals.TheInsiders.com>Arizona</A> Cardinals Wednesday, it helped the Bears chances of landing <!--Default NodeId For Kordell Stewart is 291804,2002--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:291804]>Kordell Stewart</A>. At this point the Bears are the only team in the market for a starting quarterback.

The Cardinals had reportedly offered Stewart a four-year deal worth around $12 million, but the quarterback wanted to hear back from the Bears before making a decision. Deciding Stewart favored playing in Chicago over Arizona the Cardinals signed Blake to a three-year contract worth $7.5 million.

Unless Stewart wants to be a backup in another city it looks as if the Bears gamble to wait worked. The Bears have offered Stewart $3 million per season with the length of the contract still to be decided. He will not find more money to be a backup, which means he could sign in the next day. If not, then the team is considering bringing in another round of quarterbacks.

"We haven't given his agent a deadline as of yet," Bears GM Angelo said late Wednesday afternoon. "We did talk to him about moving forward at some point here in the near future. Hopefully we're going to have some idea where we're at within really the next 24 hours."

The next tear of veterans would significantly cheaper, but lower profile. Possibilities include Charlie Batch and Shaun King. Neither of which will excite Bears fans, but could come cheaply enough that the team could still make a run at Brian Griese when he's released after June 1st. The NFL recently ruled that Griese couldn't visit with another team in person until a trade had been worked out, but said he could talk over the phone with a perspective team. Angelo is hoping the league could change their mind.

"I think they're going to rethink it," Angelo said. "I know this is a unique situation, so maybe there's some gray area.

"Given the fact that you're allowed to talk to his agent about a contract, I would think that a visit would be appropriate as well. They obviously differ and we're just waiting to see if something could be resolved different than that."

As quarterback is the top priority in free agency it appears finding a pass rusher in the draft is just as important, especially after Rosevelt Colvin, the Bears leader in sacks over the past two seasons, signed with New England.

Angelo said he was kept abreast of the contract negotiations, but the team wouldn't have been able to match the Patriots offer.

Angelo added that he didn't think the Bears overpaid to keep Paul Edinger. The placekicker signed a five-year deal worth $7, which put him in the upper echelon of pay at the position. Despite not being one of Angelo's favorite players, Edinger is the most accurate field goal kicker in franchise history.

The team had tried to sign Edinger, 25, to a long-term deal before he hit the free agent market, but when the two sides were unable to finalize a deal the kicker received a one-year tender offer of $605,000.

"We wanted Paul to go out in the market, as did his agent," Angelo said. "We don't mind paying, but we want to know who we're bidding against and what the market is."


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