The Chicago Bears have two big fish left on their agenda in regards to free agency. The market opens on March 13th this year. That gives them less than a month to figure out what they’ll do with cornerback Bryce Callahan and safety Adrian Amos. Both were quality starters on the best defense in football last season. In a perfect world, they’d love to get both of them back. It just may not be feasible.

Chicago is in the midst of a minor salary cap crunch. The big money they shelled out in 2018 for Khalil Mack, Allen Robins, and others ate away at the sizable space GM Ryan Pace had been hoarding. Based on recent projections, they have less than $6 million available following the new contract handed to Bobby Massie.

It’s a difficult situation for Pace who helped acquire both players back in 2015. His goal has always been to reward in-house talent when they perform well. It must be frustrating to think he might not be able to for one of them this year. That leaves the inevitable question. What will he do regarding both?

Insider feels Bears will try Alshon Jeffery approach with Adrian Amos

On the surface, it would seem like Amos is the more obvious priority for the Bears. He’s two years younger than Callahan and less injury-prone. The problem is his camp knows that and are certain to drive the price up because of it. This leaves the team in a tough spot. If Amos wants top safety money or something close to it, there’s no way they can afford it.

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This is why ESPN insider Field Yates believes they’ll play the wait-and-see approach.

“The task at hand for GM Ryan Pace is an enviable one: managing how to pay all of his talented players. The Bears are light on cap space (projected around $5.4 million), but that’s OK given so much of their core is already locked in for at least three more seasons. And Pace has to keep future deals for safety Eddie Jackson and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in mind. Amos is a really solid player — a key starter for the Bears — but if his asking price is a top-of-the-market deal, Chicago might have to exercise some caution.

Verdict: Allow Amos to test the market, re-sign if at a reasonable price tag.”

For those who care to remember, this is the same thing Pace did back in 2017 when wide receiver Alshon Jeffery became a free agent. It was hoped if he hit the market and didn’t get the sort of offers he wanted that the Bears would have a chance to lure him back. It didn’t happen. He signed in Philadelphia and was gone. The difference this time though is desire. Jeffery wanted out of Chicago.

Amos has made it clear he would prefer to stay as he told SiriusXM NFL radio.

“At this point it’s really the waiting game. I want to be back in Chicago. Chicago has been talking back and forth, they want me back. But we’ll see how things shake out. Nothing is certain right now. It’s still a little early. Over the next couple weeks, I guess we’ll find out a lot more.”

So the Bears at least have that advantage that they didn’t last time. Whether it’s enough to find the middle ground they need to bring him back? Only time will tell.