Bears need to dive into free-agency buffet

Will Julius Peppers stay motivated after he receives another big payday? AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Just a few years ago, the biggest debate about LaDainian Tomlinson was whether or not he deserved the LT nickname that was once the sole domain of Lawrence Taylor.

Just a couple years ago, Brian Westbrook was the all-everything running back of the Philadelphia Eagles, more popular than Cheez Whiz.

It wasn't that long ago that Fast Willie Parker was the toast of Pittsburgh. He set a Super Bowl record and had an inspirational story.

Just last year, Julius Peppers was the second highest-paid defensive player in the league, and he is a tremendous athlete.

But things change fast in the NFL. The elevator goes from the penthouse to the basement faster than you can say "offseason participation bonus."

Now, we find ourselves wondering if the Bears should pick up any of these superstars, all around 30 years old and arguably on either the downside of their career (all three running backs) or just past their peak (Peppers) in what could be a one-year-or-bust season for several decision makers.

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