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The Bears waited until the second wave of free agency to address their need for depth at cornerback, signing a couple of low-cost veterans to one-year deals on Thursday. They will continue to assess their options at the position in free agency and the draft, but Thursday’s moves only increased speculation that the Bears are looking to land a defensive end with 19th overall pick in the draft.
They re-signed Tim Jennings to a two-year deal just before he was due to hit the open market, let Corey Graham and Zack Bowman walk in free agency, leaving them with three corners under contract through 2012. They didn’t add any other pieces at the position until late this week, when they signed Kelvin Hayden and Jonathan Wilhite to one-year contracts.
Charles Tillman will return after making his first Pro Bowl appearance as the starter at right corner and D.J. Moore is the likely nickelback, although Hayden and Wilhite both have experience playing that role and could get a chance to challenge Moore. Jennings, who was benched late last season, appears to be the returning corner most in danger of losing a battle to one of the new additions. But keep in mind that Wilhite has fizzled out in New England and Denver in the past year and Hayden has not been healthy for a full season since 2007 — of late, neither player has brought the kind of stability their previous teams hoped they would.