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Bears lead NFL in free-agent signings
March 23, 2017 03:18 PM | Larry Mayer
Determined to upgrade their roster after a disappointing 3-13 season, the Bears have been the NFL's most active team during the first two weeks of free agency.

Since the start of the new league year March 9, the Bears have inked an NFL-high 14 unrestricted free agents. The 49ers are second with 13, followed by the Colts (12) and Falcons (10).

The 14 free agents the Bears have signed include four of their own players and 10 from other NFL teams. The only club that has signed more players from other teams is the 49ers with 11-a total that includes former Bears quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley and tight end Logan Paulsen.

The Chiefs have signed the fewest unrestricted free agents with two, while the Browns, Broncos, Packers and Texans aren't far between with three apiece.

General manager Ryan Pace's philosophy is to add young ascending players in free agency and that's evident in the fact that nine of the 10 players the Bears have signed from other teams are either 26 or 27 years old. The lone exception is 31-year-old safety Quintin Demps.

Cornerbacks Prince Amukamara (Jaguars) and Marcus Cooper (Cardinals), tackle Tom Compton (Falcons), quarterback Mike Glennon (Buccaneers), defensive lineman John Jenkins (Seahawks) and receiver Kendall Wright (Titans) are all 27, while running back Benny Cunningham (Rams), tight end Dion Sims (Dolphins) and receiver Markus Wheaton (Steelers) are 26.

The four unrestricted free agents the Bears have re-signed since the start of the league year are cornerback Johnthan Banks, kicker Connor Barth, safety Chris Prosinski and defensive lineman C.J. Wilson.

They also extended seven others prior to March 9: Guard Eric Kush, linebacker Christian Jones, receiver Joshua Bellamy, tight end Daniel Brown, defensive back Bryce Callahan, long-snapper Patrick Scales and quarterback Connor Shaw.

Pace believes in filling needs in free agency, which then creates flexibility entering the draft. After two busy weeks, it appears that's exactly what he has accomplished.

UPDATE: A couple hours after this story was posted, the Bears re-signed receiver/kick returner Deonte Thompson, the 15th unrestricted free agent they've inked since March 9.

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