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Chalk Talk: Which Bears will become free agents?

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on

Which Bears players are due to become free agents?
Ross P.
Schaumburg, Illinois

There are 27 Bears players who are due to become unrestricted free agents when the new league year begins March 16: 12 on offense, 13 on defense and two specialists. Unrestricted free agents are players with expired contracts who have at least four accrued seasons of service time and can sign with any other club. Here's the list:


Andy Dalton, quarterback
Damien Williams, running back
Allen Robinson II, receiver
Marquise Goodwin, receiver
Damiere Byrd, receiver
Jakeem Grant Sr., receiver/return specialist
Jimmy Graham, tight end
Jesse James, tight end
Jason Peters, tackle
James Daniels, guard
Germain Ifedi, tackle/guard
Elijah Wilkinson, tackle


Akiem Hicks, tackle
Bilal Nichols, tackle
Margus Hunt, tackle
Alec Ogletree, inside linebacker
Joel Iyiegbuniwe, inside linebacker
Christian Jones, inside linebacker
Bruce Irvin, outside linebacker
Cassius Marsh Sr., outside linebacker
Artie Burns, cornerback
Tashaun Gipson Sr., safety
DeAndre Houston-Carson, safety
Deon Bush, safety
Marqui Christian, safety


Pat O'Donnell, punter
Patrick Scales, long-snapper

The Bears will also have five restricted free agents. Restricted free agents are players with three accrued seasons. They can sign an offer sheet with another team, but their original club can match it or possibly receive compensation (depending on the qualifying offer made to the player). Here are the Bears' restricted free agents-to-be:

Ryan Nall, running back
J.P. Holtz, tight end
Alex Bars, guard/tackle
Xavier Crawford, cornerback
Teez Tabor, safety

The Bears will have three exclusive rights free agents, who are players with two or fewer accrued seasons. They can only negotiate and sign with their original club. Here are the Bears' exclusive rights free agents:

Jesper Horsted, tight end
Sam Mustipher, center
Lachavious Simmons, tackle

How many NFL records were broken as a result of expanding from 16 to 17 games this season, and how many were broken in the first 16 games?
Jeff B.
Minneapolis, Minnesota

There were a number of single-season NFL records set or tied during the final weekend of the NFL's first 17-game season. All of these occurred in Week 18: Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt tied Michael Strahan's record with 22.5 sacks, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady set a mark with 485 completions, Dolphins receiver Jaylen Waddle established a record for receptions by a rookie with 104 and Buccaneers wideout Mike Evans finished the year with 1,035 yards, becoming the first receiver in NFL history to top 1,000 yards in each of his first eight seasons.

What's the status of Bears assistant coaches while they await a new head coach?

Kevin T.
Dyer, Indiana

Typically, when an NFL head coach gets fired, the assistants on his staff who remain under contract can interview with other teams. But it's my understanding that their original club must give permission.

Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.

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