B & B all over: Busy day in Chicago

Tuesday was busy enough in Chicago that we need a clean-up session to wrap up all the goings-on. We covered the acquisition of safety Chris Harris pretty thoroughly, but in addition:

The Bears restructured Harris' contract. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, it is now worth a maximum of $3.5 million and expires after the 2011 season. But if the Bears pay an option bonus due in March 2011, they'll be required to extend the contract further.

Director of college scouting Greg Gabriel was informed his contract will not be renewed. This continues an expected shakeup and clears the way for former Seattle general manager Tim Ruskell to join the team, as Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune writes.

Free-agent guard Alan Faneca signed with Arizona, eliminating the possibility he might go to the Bears. It's not clear if the Bears ever got involved, however.

Finally, the Tribune's Brad Biggs suggests that safety Kevin Payne is likely to seek his release following the Harris trade.

We shouldn't minimize the changes the Bears have made to their roster. As we noted earlier this month, only six starters remain from their 2006 Super Bowl team. But they've now overhauled their coaching staff and front office as well. More to come on these changes.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press questions whether Lions running back Kevin Smith realizes the impact of rookie Jahvid Best's arrival. Smith recently referred to Best as a "good complement." Monarrez: "Let's hope Smith is just being polite and that he truly understands that he's in a fight to keep his job and that coaches probably already have him penciled in as No. 2 on the depth chart."

  • Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com hasn't ruled out the possibility of the Lions signing free-agent linebacker Keith Bulluck.

  • Rookie free agent Sam Shields, a cornerback from Miami, is the fastest player on the Packers' roster, writes Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

  • Mark Craig of the Star Tribune explores the issues in the Williams Wall trial.

  • Dennis Lien of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "A proposal to allow slot machines to help pay for a new Vikings football stadium fell flat Tuesday in the Minnesota House."