Bears face big decisions on several key players

Devin Hester

He has spoken of retirement, which is likely just end-of-the-season frustration. Hester is only 30.

But he might be starting to show signs of age. He had his least productive offensive season since his first season playing wide receiver in 2007.

Opposing special teams coaches still showed Hester respect, but his punt-return average of 8.3 yards ranked 22nd in the NFL and his kickoff-return average of 25.9 ranked 10th. He has not had a return touchdown of any kind in his last 23 games.

Some have speculated Hester could be cut. He will be in the final year of his contract with a salary of $1.85 million. He has an escalator clause in his deal that could have earned him considerably more money, but his performance has not activated it.

Hester's cap number is high at $2.94 million. If he is cut or traded, he would count only $833,000 against the cap.

Israel Idonije

He is 32 and will be out of contract, assuming he is not re-signed before the start of free agency. Idonije played pretty well in 2012 but lost his starting defensive end job to Corey Wootton nine games into the season.

He was a favorite of defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. Whether he has a future in Chicago could depend on what scheme the new coach implements.

Lance Louis

His rookie deal expires in March, and he was a personal favorite of offensive coordinator Mike Tice. Louis, a seventh-round pick in 2009, finally started to come into his own at guard this season.

It's possible Louis will want to test the market, as it might not be easy to pinpoint his value in negotiations with the Bears.

Working in his favor: He was the Bears' best offensive lineman this season.

Working against him: He blew out a knee in late November and won't be completely healthy for quite some time.

D.J. Moore

He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in a little more than nine weeks. He lost his job as the first-string nickel back to Kelvin Hayden during the season and might not be retained.

Shea McClellin

The issue with McClellin isn't whether he will be in Chicago. It's whether he will be at defensive end.

McClellin was drafted to be an end, and Emery was pleased with how he performed there this season. Emery pointed out McClellin's percentage of quarterback disruptions was better than that of every defensive end in the draft except two who were taken ahead of him — Bruce Irvin of the Seahawks and Quinton Coples of the Jets.

But a scheme change could force him to move to outside linebacker or even inside linebacker.

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