The league-wide focus on the elite members of the free-agent class of 2012 has been on a handful of superstars who will command money that will confirm them as franchise players even without any teams tag designating them as such.
The Bears have made a pass rusher and wide receiver their two top needs but what happens after that will have some significant impact on the fortunes of a team that believes itself close to playing for a Roman numeral trophy.
In order of descending priority, three areas with anticipated Bears sightings:
Cornerback: The Baltimore Ravens did not sign Chris Carr, 29 this season, who played all 16 games in his first six years before missing seven in 2011. At 5-foot-10, he has experience but not a top-shelf starters price tag. Brandon Carr has not missed a game in four seasons as a Kansas City Chief as is a Charles Tillman-like 6-feet, 205 pounds. Carr also is someone with whom GM Phil Emery is very familiar from Emerys time in K.C.
Tight end: Lovie Smith has extolled the qualities and upside of Kellen Davis. Whether Davis is adequate to the expected role of a tight end in the offense of Mike TiceJeremy Bates is open to question, however. John Carlson, a former second-rounder out of Notre Dame, missed all of 2011 with a shoulder injury suffered in a training-camp practice. Joel Dreesen could join Amobi Okoye and (possibly) Mario Williams from the Houston Texans to Chicago. Dreesen is rated a bargain by ProFootballFocus.com and the sixth-rated TE by the stats analysts at PFF with receiver skills.
Quarterback: David Garrard has been a starter (Jacksonville) who is working back from injury and willing to take a berth as a backup. Jason Campbells broken right collarbone re-opened the career door for Carson Palmer in Oakland and Campbell has been closely evaluated by the Bears. Campbell had the Raiders off to a 4-2 record before his injury and rates as the sleeper in efforts to upgrade the No. 2 spot at quarterback. Despite the lack of immediate activity on a new deal, Josh McCown is expected back to at the very least compete for a roster spot.