Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.
Looking forward and not back, how many Bears players are due to become free agents?
Downers Grove, Illinois
The Bears have 27 players who are due to become free agents in March. The 18 unrestricted free agents are set to include receivers Alshon Jeffery, Marquess Wilson and Deonte Thompson, quarterbacks Matt Barkley and Brian Hoyer, guards Eric Kush and Ted Larsen, outside linebacker Sam Acho and kicker Connor Barth. The others are tackle Mike Adams, tight end Logan Paulsen, cornerback Johnthan Banks, offensive linemen Nick Becton and Matt McCants, defensive back Brandon Boykin, safety Chris Prosinski, defensive end Cornelius Washington and nose tackle C.J. Wilson. Two restricted free agents will be defensive back Demontre Hurst and inside linebacker Christian Jones. And seven exclusive free agents will be receiver Joshua Bellamy, tight end Daniel Brown, defensive back Bryce Callahan, quarterbacks David Fales and Connor Shaw, linebacker Danny Mason and long-snapper Patrick Scales. Unrestricted free agents are free to sign with any NFL team without any draft choice compensation owed to the original club; restricted free agents can sign an offer sheet with another team but their original team has the opportunity to match it or receive draft pick compensation; and exclusive free agents can only negotiate and sign with their own team.
I saw that Jordan Howard finished second in the NFL in rushing. When was the last time a Bears player finished that high in the rankings?
Oak Forest, Illinois
The last time a Bears player finished as high as Jordan Howard did this season was in 2013 when Matt Forte was second in the NFL in rushing with 1,339 yards behind the Eagles' LeSean McCoy (1,607). This season Howard compiled 1,313 yards to finish second behind the Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott (1,631). By the way, it's the first time in NFL history that rookies finished 1-2 in rushing. Elliott was selected by the Cowboys with the fourth pick in the draft, while Howard went to the Bears at No. 150.
Did any current Bears players attend Alabama or Clemson, the two teams that will play for the college football national championship?
No Bears players attended Alabama or Clemson, though two played for the two schools that lost in the college football playoff semifinals in linebacker John Timu (Washington) and tackle Mike Adams (Ohio State).