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Bears sign rookie Wootton; release Basanez

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By PFW staff

The Bears agreed to terms with DE Corey Wootton on a four-year contract and waived QB Brett Basanez. Terms of the Wootton deal were not disclosed.
A fourth-round selection (109th overall), Wootton has yet to completely recover from a knee injury suffered in the 2008 Alamo Bowl. When he does fully recover, he could push Mark Anderson and Israel Idonije for playing time opposite newly acquired Julius Peppers, provided he regains the pre-injury form he displayed at Northwestern. In 49 of 53 games played over the course of five seasons (2005-09) at NU, Wootton registered 156 tackles, 19½ sacks, 38 tackles for loss, four interceptions, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He also blocked four kicks on special teams for the Wildcats.
Wootton is the third of five Bears draft picks to sign or agree to terms with the team, joining OT J’Marcus Webb (seventh round, 218th overall), who inked a deal on Sunday, and CB Joshua Moore, who signed Tuesday.

In Pro Football Weekly’s 2010 Draft Preview, draft expert Nolan Naworcki offered this assessment of Wootton: “Could turn out to be a tremendous value pick if he returns to junior form. Has starter potential.”
Basanez spent the first 16 weeks of the 2009 regular season on the Bears' practice squad. He was elevated to the active roster for the final contest but did not appear in the game. His spot on the depth chart behind Jay Cutler and Caleb Hanie has been taken by 2010 sixth-round draft pick Dan LeFevour.


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