With all of the talk surrounding other teams' free agents that the Bears may covert, like Vincent Jackson, there hasn't been as much word on the street regarding what Chicago intends to do about its own free-agent situation.
It is likely that many will be re-signed, if nothing more than the fact that other teams fail to offer them a bigger contract. Guys like Corey Graham would love to be paid as starters, but they may mean more to the Bears as reserves (or, as in the case of Graham, as special teamers).
Recognizing that, here are my predictions, along with some supporting evidence:
Josh McCown, QB: Whether this precludes the Bears from going out and bringing in another veteran to be No. 2 (or No. 3 depending on how the Bears view McCown), is anybody's guess. However, it appears likely the Bears will bring back McCown.
He played better than Hanie (which isn't saying much) and is familiar with the players and coaches. ESPN's duo of Bears experts, Jeff Dickerson and Michael C. Wright, have this to say about McCown.
"It’s believed the Bears plan to bring back McCown as the No. 3, with a chance to win the No. 2 spot in training camp."
3/14: ProFootballTalk is reporting that the Bears have re-signed QB Josh McCown to a 1 year deal.
Craig Steltz, S: Steltz played surprisingly well in his stint late in the season. He plays with discipline and knows the system well. There shouldn't be too much interest in his services, plus he's a good special teams contributor.
The ESPN duo seem to agree with me. "The Bears are a better team in 2012 with Steltz on the roster than without."
UPDATE: Steltz re-signed with the Bears for two years, $1.64 million, according to ESPNChicago.com.
Kahlil Bell, RB: For one thing, he's a restricted free agent and for another, he looked good in 2011. Though he had some problems holding onto the football at times, he will be back next season.
UPDATE: Bears tendered offer to Bell to retain right to match any offer.
Kellen Davis, TE: Lovie Smith practically exalted Davis after the season, implying that he could be as good as the top tight ends in the NFL. While I don't know about that, he does deserve a chance to show what he can do. Mike Tice will use him as a pass-catcher more than Mike Martz, so this is his opportunity.
UPDATE: The market is heating up for Davis, and he is scheduled to visit with the Cowboys. Meanwhile, Bears have expressed interest in John Carlson, according to @ESPNChiBears.
UPDATE#2: Davis re-signed for two years.
Amobi Okoye, DT: Okoye did fine in limited opportunity last season. By releasing Adams, the Bears have opened up an even greater need for depth and Okoye fits that bill. Unless another team offers him more than he's worth, he should be back.
Isreal Idonije, DE: Unless the Bears sign a guy like Freeney, expect them to bring Idonije back. He didn't play as well as he did in 2010, but he finished strong and knows the system.
UPDATE: Idonije signed a one-year deal with the Bears.
Zack Bowman, CB: Bowman hasn't done anything since his rookie season, so he needs a chance of scenery. Someone will sign him but it won't be the Bears.
Brandon Meriweather, S: An expensive mistake that the Bears won't make again.
UPDATE: Meriweather signed with the Redskins.
Chris Massey, LS: The Bears only need one long-snapper and if their longtime, veteran snapper Patrick Mannelly can return from injury, Massey will be a numbers casualty.
Corey Graham, CB: This one hurts. I'd love to see Graham return since he's such a valuable member of special teams. He also played pretty darn well at the nickle last season. But there already are teams willing to start him on defense and the Bears won't pay him for that. Hope I'm wrong here.
Tim Jennings, CB: This one is a toss-up. Jennings got into Lovie's doghouse last year though he made amends late in the season. I thought he played pretty well for a little guy.
UPDATE 3/13: Tim Jennings has been re-signed by the Bears.
Roy Williams, WR: While the ESPN duo think he may stay (officially calling it a toss-up), I disagree. Williams is gone, in my opinion. The Bears brought him in due to his familiarity with Martz, but they didn't recapture the magic. He and his alligator arms must go away.
Caleb Hanie, QB: In the immortal words of Hawk Harrelson, "He gone!"