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A Bear market ... Chicago and otherwise

Posted by Albert Breer  March 5, 2010 08:44 AM

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If not for the Chicago Bears, that first overnight of free agency would've been pretty uneventful.

Good thing we have those guys ... Lovie Smith flies to Charlotte to get Julius Peppers ... Brandon Manumaleuna (mentioned him as a guy who could've fit in New England) lands at O'Hare in the morning with a  five-year deal in place ... Chester Taylor's on his way ... And by the end of today, all of them could be Bears.

Let's just say that if there was some sort of plan of collusion in place to slow the pace of free agency, the McCaskey family is in pretty serious violation of that pact. They've been aggressive enough to scare the Redskins off of the Peppers trail, and that's really saying something.

The Lions have also moved quickly, on receiver Nate Burleson and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, and the top two corners on the market (New England's own Leigh Bodden, and Texans stud Dunta Robinson) have both garnered a lot of quick, early interest.

But most everyone else -- among both players and team leaders -- seems to be in wait-and-see mode. Why? Well, I think my buddy Jason Cole of Yahoo! nailed it: The players on the market, for the most part, aren't worth big money.

"If you want to get to the heart of why the owners aren’t worried, this is the reason," one team exec told Cole. "They’re all talking to their football people and saying, 'It’s not worth spending the kind of money we’re talking about to get these mediocre players.'"

So if you're upset with the Patriots for not making a play for Julius Peppers or Karlos Dansby or one of those guys, have at it. But understand that, for now, at the next level of free agency there's a giant staring contest going on, and it might be a little while before a deal or two is done to break the ice and get that secondary market going.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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