The way things stand, the Bears know that they are currently not good enough to win their division if they don't improve their roster, and because of that, they will be forced to make some tough choices in the next 24 hours.
The Bears reportedly have about $7 million in cap space. The only way they can create more cash is to restructure contracts -- which would have to be paid for later, causing plenty of other problems -- or players simply have to be cut.
The Bears say they want to win now, which means it's likely they will try and restructure some contracts and deal with them later.
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One reason GM Phil Emery will be making difficult decisions is because the Bears simply don't have backup players that are truly considered starters in the league.
We know the offensive line will be revamped. The 2012 season ended with guys like rookie free agent James Brown and veteran Jonathon Scott getting time as starters, but they probably are not the answer to the unit getting to the next level.
Defensively, the big decision will come once Brian Urlacher's future is decided. It's believed Urlacher will come back, but what's left behind him is Blake Costanzo and Dom DeCicco. Both are considered good special teams players, but neither are good enough to replace a guy like Urlacher.
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If cornerback Kelvin Hayden leaves, Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman would be the only players remaining from the 2012 roster. Zack Bowman is also an unrestricted free agent. So that means the Bears will have to find at least a couple players that can come in and not just make the roster, but to truly contribute in 2013.
One area where the Bears do have young talent is at safety. Outside of starters Chris Conte and Major Wright, the Bears have Anthony Walters and Brandon Hardin. It's an area that the team had focused on over the last few years and now it appears they have the players that can grow and mature into reliable contributors.