The Bears lack a proven pass-catcher at tight end, a position that has become an effective weapon for most of the other teams in the NFL over the past few seasons.
The Bears realize that throwing to the tight end isn't a fad that will go away. New general manager Phil Emery re-signed incumbent Kellen Davis, hopefully with the intention of having him catch more than 18 passes this season. Five of those catches went for touchdowns, so maybe Davis is the guy who can give the Bears a tight end weapon that other teams have utilized. The best way to find out is by throwing him the ball.
1. Offensive line: Every position on the line could be upgraded with the exception of right tackle, which should be in good hands, as long as last year's No. 1 pick Gabe Carimi is fully recovered from a dislocated kneecap that sidelined him after two games. Improvement is especially needed at left tackle, given the lack of pass protection provided by J'Marcus Webb last season.
2. Pass-rushing defensive end: UFA Israel Idonije was re-signed, and he is a solid run defender, but he had just five sacks playing across from DRE Julius Peppers. The defense is based on getting pass-rush pressure from the linemen, but they did not get that consistently last season.
3. Wide receiver: With the addition of Brandon Marshall, the Bears have their long-awaited No. 1 receiver. But, the most productive member of last year's group, Johnny Knox, is slowly rehabbing from a devastating hit late last season that necessitated back surgery. There is no timetable for his return.
RB Matt Forte (tendered at $7.742 million).
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--LS Chris Massey filled in reliably last season, and Patrick Mannelly, the Bears' long-snapper for the past 14 years, is still rehabbing from the torn ACL that ended his 2011 season in November. Mannelly might not be 100 percent for some time.
--DT Amobi Okoye contributed in the rotation last season and has five years' experience, even though he's still only 24, so he could have a lot of good football ahead of him. But, with starters Henry Melton and Matt Toeaina back, and last year's second-round pick Stephen Paea expected to play a bigger role, where does Okoye fit?
--WR Roy Williams, at 6-3 and 215 pounds, is easily the biggest of an undersized group of wide receivers. But, despite high hopes last season, Williams' production was pedestrian: 37 catches, 507 yards, two touchdowns.
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--TE Kellen Davis: UFA; $6M/2 yrs, $2.7M SB.
--DE Israel Idonije: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--CB Tim Jennings: Potential UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--QB Josh McCown: UFA; $850,000/1 yr, $25,000 SB.
--S Craig Steltz: UFA; $1.64M/2 yrs.
--RB Michael Bush: UFA Raiders; $14M/4 yrs, $7M guaranteed.
--QB Jason Campbell: UFA Raiders; $3.5M/1 yr, $2M SB.
--LB Blake Costanzo: UFA 49ers; $2M/2 yrs, $400,000 SB.
--WR Brandon Marshall (trade Dolphins).
--WR Devin Thomas: UFA Giants; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--WR Eric Weems: UFA Falcons; $4.2M/3 yrs, $1,5M guaranteed.
--NT Anthony Adams (released).
--RB Marion Barber (retired).
--CB Zack Bowman: UFA Vikings; $615,000/1 yr.
--CB Corey Graham: UFA Ravens; $3/7M/2 yrs, $1.2M SB.
--QB Caleb Hanie: UFA Broncos; $1.25M/1 yr.
--S Brandon Meriweather: UFA Redskins; $6M/2 yrs.
--T/G Frank Omiyale (released).
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