With days left until free agency begins, reports of veterans staying or going have grown abundant. Bears return man Devin Hester’s situation is a bit different, however.
The Bears haven’t attempted to re-sign Hester, according to an NFL Media report citing a source familiar with the situation.
While Hester is coming off a season in which he posted a career-high 1,436 kickoff return yards, his base salary might be too much to swallow for a team whose defense ranked near the basement in every major category.
Despite being selected to three Pro Bowls, Hester is a 31-year-old specialist and is viewed as more of a luxury than a necessity. Speculation of Hester’s departure began in Week 17, when Chicago gave Saints practice-squad player Chris Williams a three-year deal and a spot on the roster. Williams, a return specialist who played three seasons in the Canadian Football League, is viewed as a prized asset by head coach Marc Trestman. Trestman had an up-close view of Williams while he was the head coach of the Montreal Alouttes for five seasons.
One option for Hester could be a reunion with Lovie Smith in Tampa Bay. The two spent seven seasons together in Chicago and know each other closely.