Bears defensive coordinator isn't one to crow

Even though the Bears didn't have to cut any unusually large signing bonus checks, their 2012 payroll still is fairly healthy because they have a number of players with big salaries this year.

Among them are Marshall ($9.1 million), Julius Peppers ($8.9 million), Jay Cutler ($7.7 million) and Brian Urlacher $7.5 million).

Front office chess: Flurry of moves

The Bears took a week off from playing, but they were far from inactive in the front office.

Since they last played, the Bears made eight transactions — adding two and subtracting two each from their practice squad and 53-man roster.

Among the missing are three players who have logged a lot of time at Halas Hall — offensive lineman Chris Williams and running backs Kahlil Bell and Harvey Unga.

But another player with a familiar face was among the newcomers. Zack Bowman, who signed with the Vikings in the offseason as a free agent, was brought back.

The Bears didn't want Bowman in March, but they wanted him last week for a couple of reasons.

The first is that cornerback Sherrick McManis could miss Monday night's game with a hip injury. Bowman is capable of replacing him on special teams as well as defense.

The other player Bowman can replace maybe better than anyone else on the roster is Charles Tillman. If the Bears were to lose the 6-foot-2 Tillman during the Lions game, now they have a 6-1 potential replacement who knows the system and has experience against Calvin Johnson.

That's why signing Bowman made more sense than signing a younger cornerback with more potential.

The acquisition of tight end Brody Eldridge also is interesting. Eldridge was signed to see if he can help the Bears' blocking. He played some center and guard at Oklahoma and is known as a finisher.

Matt Spaeth has not performed poorly as the primary blocking tight end. In fact, he performed very well in the Bears' last game. But now, he could have some competition.

dpompei@tribune.com

Twitter @danpompei

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