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Bears' trade for Harris likely relegates Manning to nickel

Former second-round pick has played well in role before Brad Biggs

Print This April 28, 2010, 08:54 AM EST

Who is the big loser in the Chicago Bears’ trade for Chris Harris on Tuesday?

Well, that depends on your perspective. It figures that fellow safety Kevin Payne will seek his release here soon. Interestingly, both players are represented by agent Albert Elias making the Bears’ re-acquisition of Harris a little interesting for him. Harris was a sixth-round pick of the Bears in 2005 and two years later the team used a fifth-round pick on Payne.

But Payne, who started five games last season, appears to be at the bottom of the depth chart now and the sooner he hits the street, the better his opportunity will be to find work elsewhere.

The Bears are planning on inserting Harris at strong safety and that would seemingly close another door in the secondary for Danieal Manning, the team’s second-round pick from 2006 who has been moved all about. Manning is a restricted free agent who was tendered at the low level. He’s yet to sign that tender that will be worth $1.176 million, although he recently showed up to take part in the voluntary offseason workout program.

"If Chris Harris is brought into the mix, then obviously it's a good move that the Bears decided to make,'' Manning told Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. "If he plays strong safety, then that's what they want to do with him, and I can't do anything about it.
"Before April 15, I was thinking about a bigger contract and all that. But lately, we haven't discussed any further contract with the Bears. We're just going day by day. It all falls back on what's best for the Bears and what's best for me and my family."
"I just play football. If I'm a Chicago Bear, I have to buy into whatever. At end of the day, we just have to all move forward and focus on getting a championship."

With the Bears trading for Harris and adding Florida’s Major Wright with a draft pick in the third round, it looks like Manning will be relegated to the nickel back role he’s played, and played well at times in the past. He also figures to have a prominent role on special teams. It’s not what he wanted in his fifth season, but he of all people shouldn’t be surprised that the team is shuffling him around.

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