Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press
The 2014 offseason is starting similarly to the 2013 offseason where one of the team's best and most respected players is set to become a free agent.
Last offseason it was Brian Urlacher, and this season it is Charles Tillman.
The Bears offered Urlacher a $2 million one-year deal, and Urlacher refused, opting to retire and join Fox Sports 1 as an analyst.
Tillman now finds himself in a somewhat similar position. While he has yet to be offered a formal contract, he stated on the Laurence Holmes Show last week, via CBS Chicago, "In a perfect world, I will finish as a Bear. I guarantee you I will retire as a Chicago Bear. I guarantee that."
His statement of guaranteeing that he will "retire as a Chicago Bear" does not necessarily mean he is set to return in 2014, but it shows his willingness to consider returning, but it all depends on the sort of money the team has to spend on free agents.
Urlacher was unaware of the team's financial situation last offseason when they only offered him $2 million, and he said in an interview on In Depth with Graham Bensinger, according to ESPNChicago.com's Michael C. Wright, this past September:
They knew they weren't gonna move off of that offer. I just wish they'd have told me that. I wish they would've said, "Hey, we have this amount of money for you. This is all we can pay you. If you want to play, we want you back. We want you to play for us. This is the situation. We can pay you this. We want to bring a young guy in behind you, and maybe he'll start or whatever. But we want you here on our team."
If the Bears indeed want Tillman back, but are limited financially, they could learn from the Urlacher situation last offseason. They may be able to bring Tillman back for less money if he becomes aware of their financial situation.