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Israel Idonije Contract Update: Former Chicago Bear Getting Interest from San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans

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COMMENTARY | Veteran Chicago Bears defensive lineman Israel Idonije is now a free agent. The 32-year-old was productive for the Bears last season, netting 7.5 sacks and 48 tackles.

Idonije's productivity has gotten him attention from both the Tennessee Titans and the San Francisco 49ers. I love Israel as a Bear, but going to the Niners is the best move for him.

Even though the Niners had a great defense last year, injuries late in the season exposed a lack of depth along the defensive line. An injury to Justin Smith late in the season crippled San Fran's pass rush, allowing talented quarterbacks to carve them up in the playoffs.

Israel has never been a star, but has been productive. He could see a lot of playing time for the Niners, even if he isn't a starter. Lack of depth forced San Francisco to use the same three or four linemen all throughout 2012.

This year, the Niners are looking to have a better rotation in the line to give their starters a rest and to protect against injury. They have already signed former Kansas City Chief Glenn Dorsey. Idonije and Dorsey would give the Niners depth and veteran leadership.

The Bears are tight against the cap and would probably ask Israel to take a pay cut to stay with the team. This year's draft is deep in defensive line talent, so they may let the older Idonije walk and take a defensive lineman later in the draft.

Finally, for a veteran like Idonije, playing for a contender is important. Nothing has happened this offseason to convince me that the 49ers couldn't get back to the Super Bowl. Israel is on the wrong side of 30 and the Bears are a team in transition. The 49ers are one of the top teams in the league.

I would love to see Idonije as a Bear next season, but I don't think that is going to happen.

Tyler Emken is a journalist and sports enthusiast operating out of central Illinois.

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