The Facts: The Bears are eying one of the biggest names on the free-agent market to solve one of their biggest problems. Despite very limited salary-cap space and a highly paid tight end already on their roster, a source said they are planning to pursue Falcons two-time Pro Bowl tight end Hooper when free agency opens next month.
Diehards Line: The Bears won't be alone. In fact, ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky reports the Packers are also intent on adding on a pass-catcher both in free agency and the draft and plan to make a run at Hooper as well. Meanwhile, we'll remind you the Falcons have made it clear they will not give Hooper the franchise tag, nor will it try to sign him to an extension before free agency opens. Hooper will be the best tight end available. Hooper caught 75 passes for 787 yards and six touchdowns — all career highs — last season. He has been quiet about free agency and declined to discuss the Bears in an interview with the Sun-Times last month. “I’m not thinking about any particular team too hard,” he said. ... That will change soon enough. Stay tuned.