There are many questions surrounding the various free agents that the Chicago Bears need to wrap up in the off season. None is more intriguing than what the Bears are going to do about multiple pro-bowl kick returner, and crowd favorite Devin Hester.
Hester has spent his entire 8 year NFL career electrifying the Soldier Field faithful with his game breaking ability on special teams, and he enters this off season as an unrestricted free agent (UFA) for the first time in his career. At the age of 31, and with no real position other than that of a kick/punt returner the options for Hester are limited, and with a salary of $1.9 million last year not many teams are going to want an aging player that is going to try and command that type of salary.
From his rookie season in 2006, where Hester burst on the scene with 6 total return touchdowns, to his spectacular opening kick return for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLI, Hester has been a force to be dealt with, causing many teams to avoid kicking to him altering the all-important field position battle that can often times dictate the direction of the game in the NFL. Seeing how dynamic of a player Hester could be, the offensive mastermind that was then Coach Lovie Smith, tried to convert Hester into a number 1 wide receiver, and in the process impeding his progress and growth as the most dynamic returner in the game. After two seasons of no return touchdowns, the coaching staff finally realized they were losing too big of an asset on special teams and let Hester focus solely on the return game.
Hester is 1 touchdown away from breaking the all-time return record of 20 a record that was almost broken in week 14, but was called back on a questionable holding penalty. Hester has gone on record saying that he would love to break the record as a member of the Bears, but for that to happen he would have to be willing to take a deep home town discount for the Bears to consider that.
It seems that both sides would like to come to some sort of an agreement that would keep Hester in the Windy City for at least another season for a shot at that record. The question is how deep of a discount is Hester willing to give in order to achieve his goal of breaking this record as a member of the Bears.