Bears could target Brandon Mebane

ESPN’s John Clayton expects the defensive tackle-needy Bears to make a push for Seattle’s Brandon Mebane whenever free agency begins.

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“I do think that Mebane is going to be a target. And when you start to stack up the remaining defensive tackles now that the franchise tags have been out and (there have been) a couple re-signings, Mebane is right there at the top,” Clayton said Monday on the Calabro show. “(The Bears) showed last year that they weren’t gun-shy in going after what they thought the best player in free agency was – Julius Peppers.

“Well now, they’re desperate for a defensive tackle and where they draft (29th overall) is probably not going to get them that right (defensive) tackle- the correct tackle – to try to fill in. I think they go after Mebane.”

The Bears released former Pro Bowl defensive tackle Tommie Harris last month after injuries diminished his production.

Clayton also noted that familiarity could be a factor with the Bears and Mebane. Chicago’s director if player personnel, Tim Ruskell, was Seattle’s general manager when the Seahawks drafted Mebane in the third round of the 2007 draft.

The Seahawks placed a third round tender last month on the 26-year-old Mebane, but that was under the terms of the now-expired collective bargaining agreement. Under the old agreement, if Mebane were to sign an offer sheet with another team, the Seahawks could either match it and keep Mebane or they would receive a third-round pick from whichever team that signs him.

Mebane’s agent, Chuck Price, told the Associated Press earlier this month that both sides were working on a long-term deal to keep Mebane in Seattle.