Don Wright/Associated Press
The Bears have a staggering 23 impending free agents. General Manager Phil Emery will look to bring a good portion of them back, but expect a lot of them to walk.
A few weeks ago we looked at each of the 23 players and gave a decision on their future with the team. Henry Melton and Charles Tillman have to be first priority for the team.
Melton is coming off a torn ACL but is still young and productive enough to build around on the defensive line. He will come back next season fully healthy, but the Bears could get a discount due to his injury.
Look for the Bears to lock up Melton for two or three seasons at a much cheaper rate than what the two sides were negotiating before the start of the 2013 season.
Recently Charles Tillman said he guarantees he will "retire as a Bear." Both sides have remained mum on contract negotiations, but the Bears would benefit from having Tillman for another two seasons. He is still very productive and could bridge the gap for another young player.
Devin Hester is an intriguing player. It's tough to put a price tag on his skill set because there just isn't another player like him in the league. At the end of the day it's tough to see Hester in a different uniform.
D.J. Williams, Zack Bowman, Corey Wootton, Nate Collins and James Anderson are all solid veterans who can help turn this defense around next season. Best of all, they won't cost the team much money.
The Bears have a ton of roster spots to fill. They can ill afford to waste valuable time on some of their own players who can be signed fairly quickly. The sooner the Bears bring their bargain veterans back, the sooner than can move on to outside options.