Safety Sherrick McManis is a Bears link to the past and apparently now to the future.
The Bears signed McManis Thursday for his 11th NFL season, including the last nine in Chicago.
McManis was the player with the longest Bears tenure last year and was an unrestricted free agent, but suffered a groin injury in November and went on injured reserve. A future with the team for the Peoria, Ill. native appeared uncertain at the time because he'll turn 33 this December.
However, McManis' return not only means stability for special teams because of his status as a coverage unit captain, it also means more experienced depth in the secondary.
This means the Bears return McManis, DeAndre Houston-Carson and Deon Bush with Eddie Jackson as safeties experienced with their defensive system
When free agency began, Jackson was the only safety with real NFL experience under contract.
They also have former Chiefs safety Jordan Lucas.
The need for another safety would be as a job challenger but it doesn't appear as pressing for the draft as at cornerback, where they've been left with free agent signing Artie Burns, undrafted veteran Kevin Toliver II and former CFL player Tre Roberson competing for the starting spot formerly held by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
McManis hasn't started a regular-season game since 2015 and started only five in his career, which has been based almost solely on his special teams play. His only start since 2015 was the playoff loss to Philadelphia as a slot cornerback after Bryce Callahan went on injured reserve.
Last season McManis cost the Bears $1.9 million under the cap, so the tradeoff of bringing in a more experienced special teams player will be more money off the cap.