By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) — The Bears have locked up two more of their own players, announcing Sunday that they re-signed defensive tackle Nate Collins and quarterback Jordan Palmer to one-year deals.
Both players' 2013 contracts were set to expire Tuesday, allowing them to hit the open market.
Collins, who is still only 26 years old, came on strong in the first five games of 2013 but was lost for the rest of the season after suffering a torn ACL. He said in December that he expects to be ready for OTAs and he should provide good depth inside as part of the defensive tackle rotation.
But what does his return mean for Henry Melton?
The Bears also re-signed defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff last week, but there still appears to be interest in keeping Melton, who also tore his ACL last season. Melton's value is hard to gauge as he hasn't been cleared from the knee injury and was also arrested on assault charges in December. Still, he's one of the few good defensive tackles set to hit the open market Tuesday and he'll have plenty of interest from other teams.
Palmer, meanwhile, returns to the Bears after spending nine weeks on the team's active roster in 2013. He didn't play in any games but the Bears liked how he performed in two preseason contests and thought he was a good fit in the clubhouse and quarterback meeting room.
But do they like Palmer enough to rely on him as Jay Cutler's backup in 2014?
It's important to remember that Palmer only has 15 career NFL passing attempts since getting drafted in 2007, so asking him to backup someone who hasn't started all 16 games in a season since 2009 would be risky. Re-signing Josh McCown still appears to be a likely possibility as long as another team doesn't swoop in with an offer the Bears can't compete with.
Still, it's interesting the Bears moved quickly to bring back Palmer, who didn't jump on with another team last year after the Bears originally cut him at the end of the preseason.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.
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