The 2014 NFL season will officially kickoff on Tuesday, March 11 at 3 p.m. CST. At that time, all hell will break loose, with hundreds of free agents signing with the league's 32 teams in a very short period of time.
For the Chicago Bears, the next few months will be the foundation upon which the team will be built this season. The team has 16 current players set to hit free agency, including seven defensive starters from Week 1 last year, meaning the roster turnover could be significant.
The team's salary cap situation, which is bleak, will make things more difficult for GM Phil Emery to be as active as necessary in free agency. Creativity in contract structuring will absolutely necessary if the Bears expect to land quality open-market players.
Below, in our Bears Free Agency Primer, we break down the team's financials, prioritize the team's needs, address Julius Peppers' contract and much more. We also offer open-market analysis at Bears positions of need to find cost-effective, quality free agents. Finally, we'll evaluate all of the franchise's free-agents-to-be, weighing the pros and cons of re-signing each.
Bears Free Agency
Open-Market Positional Analysis
Hold 'em or Fold 'em
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is entering his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.