Ben Roethlisberger (7) fumbles the ball as he runs from Chicago Bears defensive end Corey Wootton (98) during the second half at Heinz Field. The Bears won the game, 40-23. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears Corey Wootton says he wants to stay but will likely test market

The Chicago Bears defense is in need of a overhaul, but they didn’t do themselves any favors by retaining defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, who may have contributed to the regression of some players on defense. But Tucker wasn’t the main reason why the Bears defense was one of the worst in the NFL, as this team simply didn’t have sufficient depth or talent. When guys like Charles Tillman, Henry Melton, and Lance Briggs went down, the backups simply didn’t step up, and there were a number of starters who didn’t fulfill their duties either.

Corey Wootton wasn’t exactly good last year, but the defensive lineman wasn’t a disaster- that’s more than what can be said for a few other players on the Bears defense. The 26-year-old Northwestern product is hitting the free agent market with a torn labrum, and he told Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times yesterday that he doesn’t expect to be fully health until July. But despite his inability to rush the passer and injury status, Wootton’s ability to play at virtually any position on the defensive line and his age will make him a quality option on the free agent market.

He said that he wants to stay with the Bears but will likely end up testing the free agent market, “I’m probably going to test the market and see what’s out there. I’m just really excited to see what’s going on. Obviously, I would like to stay with the Bears, but I don’t know how it’s looking. I guess we’ll have a better understanding when free agency happens.’’

Last season, Wootton recorded 34 tackles and 3.5 sacks, and the 2013 season was likely his last one with the Chicago Bears.

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