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- Bears Sign Manning Jr. to Offer

Chris Pokorny April 22, 2006
Chris Pokorny
PFC Owner & Writer

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The Chicago Bears have signed restricted free-agent cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. to an offer sheet worth around $21 million over four years. The deal would include about $7.5 million in guaranteed money. The Panthers have until April 28th to match the Bears offer if they would like to retain Manning. If they do not keep him, they will receive a third-round draft pick from the Bears out of compensation.

Panthers general manager Marty Hurney would not declare what the team's plans were for Manning.

"We'll take some time and look and evaluate it," Hurney said. "We have a week to make a decision."

Manning has been with the Panthers for the past three seasons. Last year, he lost his starting job to cornerback Ken Lucas. Manning's career highlight was during the 2003 playoffs, where he picked off Rams' quarterback three times in one game. The performance helped lead the Panthers to the Super Bowl.

The Bears would love to have another cornerback with the skills of Manning after CB Jerry Azumah retired.

"He's a physical player and has some ball skills," said Bears head coach Lovie Smith. "That's definitely one of the things we would like to get taken care of, any time any time you lose a player like Jerry," Smith said.

The Bears could also select a cornerback in the first round of the draft. However, if the Bears are able to get Manning, they may seek another position.


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