The 27-year-old DT was one of the few bright spots on Chicago's woeful defense. Paea started all 16 games in 2014, he had six sacks as an interior defensive lineman, and he defensed three passes! His presence was both impactful and consistent. Paea, along with teammates Kyle Fuller and Brock Vereen, is a young defensive standout who can be a building block on a unit set to get much younger in 2015.
Getty ImagesJonathan Daniel
Brian De La Puente
The 30-year-old C was a very good player for this Bears team and the team's offensive line in 2014. He's one of the top-rated FA centers on Pro Football Focus, and given that the offense had a disturbing decline in production this past season, offense is an area the fans and front office will want to see improved for 2015. A productive veteran C would be key to an offensive re-birth. Brian has also been able to help keep QB Jay Cutler cleaner this past season than Jay has been in years past as a Bear. It would be wise to hold on to a vet at a position as important as center rather than go after a younger, cheaper, and more unproven player.
Getty ImagesAl Bello
The former Jacksonville Jaguar and Detroit Lion just finished his first season as a member of the Bears. Lane never started and played very little for the team in 2014; in fact, he was cut and then brought back in December after Willie Young got hurt. Lane has bouncd around a bit and has not had as good of a career as he may have hoped. He's young, has very little football mileage on his legs, and is itching to prove to the league he's more than just a journeyman defensive lineman. This team needs a complete defensive overhaul, and many of the older vets will likely either be cut or won't be re-signed. A young, hungry, and still unproven Lane could be a cheap, effective, and possibly brilliant addition to the defense for new GM Ryan Pace.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY SportsKen Blaze
The 27-year-old T, like fellow FA offensive lineman Brian De La Puente, helped bring this Chicago o-line together and helped to protect Jay Cutler better than he's ever been protected in past seasons in Chicago. Besides just putting together a great season, Britton is young and bringing him back into the fold would do wonders toward continuing the consistency and good play of Chicago's offensive line.
Brad Mills-USA TODAY SportsBrad Mills
Conte is a name many Bears fans are likely shocked to see on this list. He's had his share of bad moments in Chicago, including getting burned by Packers receiver Randall Cobb for a GW touchdown in a 2013 Week 17 contest that determined the NFC North title. But he still has plenty of room to grow, and given that older defensive stalwarts like Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs will likely both be gone (and Briggs may retire), it would be silly to put money into them. Conte is a perfect young piece to build around.