NFL Free Agency: Chicago Bears Re-Sign Israel Idonije

Michael Gibbons@DachicagofanCorrespondent IIMarch 15, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 04:  Tyler Palko #4 of the Kansas City Chiefs is pursued by Israel Idonije #71 of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 4, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Chiefs defeated the Bears 10-3.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

After missing out on Mario Williams the Chicago Bears decided to go back to someone they know pretty well.

On Thursday they agreed to a new one-year deal with defensive end Israel Idonije. Terms of the deal are undisclosed, but I would suspect it is around what he was making the last two seasons. He had signed a two-year deal worth $7 million in 2009.

So what does bringing Idonije back mean for the Bears in the rest of free agency and the draft?

Probably not much.

In regards to free agency it probably means that the Bears have little interest in the likes of John Abraham and Mark Anderson. It appears that Mario Williams was their first choice and Jeremy Mincey was their second choice leaving Idonije as the back-up plan.

With the draft, it probably means that defensive end will be a top priority that they will look to address in either the first or second round. One player they could target in the draft is Whitney Mercilus from the University of Illinois, who is projected to be available when the Bears draft at 19.

With bringing back Idonije, the Bears now have five ends under contract including Julius Peppers, Corey Wootton, Chauncey Davis and Thaddeus Gibson.

Idonije, who has been with the Bears since 2004, will turn 32 this November. He has made 224 tackles and racked up 21 sacks over that time in Chicago. His best season was in 2010 when he started 15 games registering eight sacks.

Overall while Idonije wasn't the player everyone wanted to see the Bears bring in to play opposite Peppers, it is another solid move by Phil Emery. Now we will just wait to see if he will be, in fact the starter, or maybe if he will slide down into that third end role.


Make sure to follow me on Twitter @dachicagofan, and check out my weekly Bears podcast every Monday on my site The MG Experience.