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Bears sign CB Manning to offer sheet

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Bears sign CB Manning to offer sheet817-grey.gifstories;arena=nfl;feat=stories;type=psa;team=CHI;user=Anonymous;cust=no;vip=no;sz=150x30;tile=5;ord=677421145717005?

NFL.com wire reports LAKE FOREST, Ill. (April 21, 2006) -- The Chicago Bears signed restricted free-agent defensive back Ricky Manning to an offer sheet, with his agent saying the deal is worth up to $21 million over five years.

Manning spent his first three seasons with the Carolina Panthers, who eliminated the Bears from the playoffs last season. The Panthers have until April 28 to match the offer or receive a third-round draft pick from the Bears.

"Ricky is obviously thrilled and he would be happy to be a Bear or a Panther," Ivler said.

Carolina general manager Marty Hurney wouldn't indicate whether the team plans to match it.

"We'll take some time and look and evaluate it," Hurney said. "We have a week to make a decision."

Carolina previously signed free agent Reggie Howard as a potential replacement for Manning at nickel back.

Manning has played the last three seasons with the Panthers, but lost his starting job prior to the 2005 season to free-agent pickup Ken Lucas.

Manning would give the Bears depth in the secondary where they lost Jerry Azumah, who retired.

Manning was a third-round selection of the Panthers out of UCLA in 2003. He played in 55 games for Carolina with 30 starts and made nine regular-season interceptions and four more during the 2003 playoffs.

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Didn't Carolina sign Na'ill Diggs? Carolina may have a hard time matching.

This was a nice, calculated move by Jerry Angelo. After Bears fans went nuts, claiming the Bears weren't aggressive enough in free agency, Chicago rebounded nicely by singing Wesley from KC, Griese, and now, possibly Manning.

This move would give the Bears a nice trio of Tillman, Vasher, and Manning, as well as the chance to draft a linebacker as insurance for Briggs, in the event he's no resigned, or to address another area of need.

Excellent offseason so far for the Monsters of the Midway.

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