When Lovie Smith met with the media early in the weekends NFL Scouting Combine, he offered high praise for a number of his defensive linemen. Julius Peppers, obvioiusly. Defensive tackles Henry Melton and Stephen Paea. And Amobi Okoye, with whom the Bears had contract talks late last season and likely will have re-signed before the outset of free agency.
Not included in Smiths discussion were tackle Anthony Adams and end Corey Wootton. The former was inactive for much of the season either for reasons of injury or performance decline. The latter suffered through a second season of disappointment due to nagging injuries.
Omission from those kinds of even casual run-throughs is never a good thing and Adams became an early offseason roster move with his release after five seasons in Chicago, according to multiple sources.
The veteran nose tackle was signed as a free agent from the San Francisco 49ers in 2007 and was a 16-game starter in 2010, grading out behind only Peppers among defensive linemen, according to coaches.
He was re-signed to a two-year deal once the lockout lifted last summer but was sidelined with a calf injury for most of preseason and eventually was replaced as a starter by Matt Toeaina.
The Bears are looking hard for a pass rusher at defensive end, putting Woottons future sharply in question, with Chauncey Davis showing some flash late in the season and Israel Idonije a steady veteran who is a free agent but wants to remain a Bear.