Bears buzz: No Moore, no Welker, no Albert

Bears buzz: No Moore, no Welker, no Albert

March 4, 2013, 11:00 pm
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Cornerback D.J. Moore fell out of favor last season with the Lovie Smith staff, which gave his nickel back duties to Kelvin Hayden and even demoted him as far as the inactive list.

The slide continued for the former fourth-round draft pick in 2009  from Vanderbilt on Monday when he was informed that he would not be receiving a contract offer from the Bears as part of 2013 free agency.

“Thanks everyone loved an enjoyed each an every fan. Bear down for life” Moore tweeted Monday evening (@DJMoore30).

Moore was an outspoken critic of quarterback (and former Vanderbilt teammate) Jay Cutler’s on-field histrionics with teammates and appeared to slip down the depth chart shortly after remarks knocking Cutler for conduct unbecoming.

[More: Bears running back free agency preview]

Moore started two of the first five games as a third cornerback but did not play against Houston and was inactive for the San Francisco and Seattle games. He had 25 tackles through the first eight games last season, then zero in four of the last five games in which he was active.

The Bears do not have a nickel cornerback under contract at this point. Hayden is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent as of next Tuesday, although he did not attract heavy market interest before signing with the Bears last offseason.

Welker likely staying put

The New England Patriots are edging closer to a deal with wide receiver Wes Welker, sources told on Monday. Welker was linked to the Bears via one rumor despite the organization having invested three high draft choices in the position last season (two No. 3’s in trade for Brandon Marshall, drafting Alshon Jeffery in round 2).

Nothing should ever be ruled completely out, subject to best-player-available situations. But while the Bears lack a classic burner to challenge defenses deep with raw speed, they are not shopping for help at receiver with Marshall, Jeffery and Earl Bennett, their projected possession receiver and with a four-year contract extension done in late 2011.

No Albert, either

Only eight teams (including the Bears, on Henry Melton) used their franchise tags this season. Last year about this time it was 21 (including the Bears, on Matt Forte). One in particular was particularly intriguing.

The Kansas City Chiefs tagged left tackle Brandon Albert, despite having addressed their quarterback situation with the Alex Smith trade and holding the No. 1 draft position, prime real estate for bringing in a franchise left tackle.

GM Phil Emery came to the Bears from Kansas City, and with tackle at the top of the Bears’ wish list, one longtime NFL figure posited that the Chiefs expected a Bears run at Albert, hence the tag despite holding that No. 1 pick.

Were the Bears preparing a run at Albert? That's not something that will be clear now, and won't matter unless the Chiefs pull the tag at some point. But Emery was prepared to move aggressively last offseason for a proven tackle and an offhand guess is that the Chiefs may have expected him to do the same sometime next week.