Chicago Bears Free Agency Tracker: Updated Signings, Rumors, Storylines

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Chicago Bears Free Agency Tracker: Updated Signings, Rumors, Storylines
Harry How/Getty Images
Vincent Jackson would look good in blue and orange.

At 4:00 PM ET on Tuesday, the NFL free-agency period starts. For the Bears, this is an especially critical time as they have a new GM who is faced with the opportunity to win now while trying to build for the future.

The draft is a good place to do both, though free agency is more for the "now." In any case, the Bears have some serious gaps to close between themselves and their divisional rivals if they're going to contend in 2012.

The Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers are formidable opponents in the NFC North, but the Bears were 7-3 and rolling when Jay Cutler went down with injury.

So, there is good reason to think that this Bears team can be contenders simply with a healthy Cutler and running back Matt Forte.

Yet even then, the presence of those Packers and Lions—oh my—means Chicago will need to fill a couple holes to even have a chance.

The pass rush was inconsistent, and they lack a solid counterpart to cornerback Charles Tillman. One way or the other, they must figure out a way to slow down Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford.

But it's on the offensive side of the football where the Bears' most critical needs lie. A true No. 1 wide receiver is paramount. That may not come from the draft, so the free-agency market needs to be scoured thoroughly.

The offensive line could use a boost, as well, so let's take a look at the rumors and storylines that surround our Bears and see if they are going to be able to close the talent gap in the North.  

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