Found March 18, 2013 on Bears Backer:
After the Bears added two marquee players in TE Martellus Bennett and LT Jerome Bushrod last week they have been rather quiet in terms of free agency. They re-signed CB Zack Bowman and DT Nate Collins to one-year deals late last week as well. Since they don’t have much to salary cap space to work with ($5.6 million left according to league sources) they have to be careful how they spend their remaining cash. They are reportedly interested in former Kansas City Chiefs TE Steve Maneri and former New Orleans Saints DE Turk McBride. With the addition of Bennett to the tight end core the Bears have second-year player Evan Rodriguez as depth as well as third-year Purdue product Kyle Adams. But with Matt Spaeth let go due to financial reasons the Bears are looking to replace his role as a blocking tight end. Steve Maneri could fit that role. Maneri, 6’6″, 280 lbs went undrafted in 2010 out of Temple. He signed with the Texans and then spent the first half of 2011 with the Patriots until he found a home with the Chiefs. He first came into the league as an offensive tackle and switched to tight end when he arrived in Kansas City. The 24-year old did a solid job as a blocking tight end in Kansas City earning nine starts in 19 games played there. He caught five passes for 51 yards as well. Maneri would be a relatively cheap option considering he is an exclusive rights free agent. The move would make sense for the Bears and Evan Rodriguez, who will switch to TE after spending all last season as a FB seemed excited about the possibility. He tweeted on Saturday: “Chicago calling your name big bro! Temple Tuff!” The interest is there between Maneri and the Bears, but the visit hasn’t been set up just yet. A visit that has been set up is with DE Turk McBride for Tuesday afternoon at Halas Hall. The former second-round pick has 78 tackles, 9.5 sacks to his name in six seasons in the NFL.  The 27-year old could prove to be a cheaper option than veteran Israel Idonije, who signed a one-year deal worth $2.5 million a year ago. The Bears want Idonije back, but at a cheaper price. Their dealing with the same contract issues with LB Brian Urlacher and G Lance Louis, who both seem to be playing the waiting game. The big time free agents are likely not options for the Bears at this point due to their salary cap space, but they can add some of these lesser known players like Maneri to the mix. They still have big decisions to make on their own free agents including the names above plus QB Jason Campbell, CB Kelvin Hayden and T Jonathan Scott. GM Phil Emery and Co. have a lot of moves to make before this April’s NFL Draft.   Jake Perper is the owner and head writer for Bearsbacker.com. Follow him on Twitter, @Bearsbacker and on Facebook for up to the minute news about the Chicago Bears.
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