Who do you think will take over for Earl Bennett as the Bears' third receiver? At this juncture it appears that Marquess Wilson will get the first opportunity to fill that position following the release of Earl Bennett. I know that the Bears are high on Wilson, a 2013 seventh-round draft pick, and that quarterback Jay Cutler has confidence in him. Cutler threw to Wilson in a key situation in last year's winner-take-all season finale against the Packers and Wilson responded with a tough catch in traffic. Wilson has also been down in Florida working out with fellow receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Wilson's primary competition for the job will likely come from veteran Domenik Hixon, who has rebounded from two torn ACLs in 2010-11. The Bears could also draft a receiver and they always sign a couple after the draft, so we'll have to wait until training camp to see how the position actually shakes out. I was surprised that the Bears signed Saints starting center Brian de la Puente after re-signing Roberto Garza before the start of free agency. Will De la Puente challenge for the starting job? The Bears signed Brian de la Puente to serve as a backup behind Roberto Garza at center as well as both guard positions. They were looking for someone like De la Puente who possesses NFL experience and the ability to play all three inside positions. That versatility is key given that teams generally only dress seven offensive linemen on game day. That includes five starters, one reserve who's capable of stepping in at either tackle position and another who can play center and guard. De la Puente started each of the last three years with the Saints, but he'll be a valuable backup with the Bears barring injury. Signing him fills another need that will create more draft flexibility. Who do you see replacing Devin Hester as the Bears' primary kick returner this season? I imagine the Bears will hold an open competition for both the punt and kickoff return positions, and there are definitely some interesting candidates. Eric Weems was a pretty prolific returner with the Falcons; in 2010 he was named to the Pro Bowl as the NFC's special teams representative after averaging 27.5 yards on 40 kickoff returns with one touchdown and 12.8 yards on 18 punt returns with one TD. Weems had a third touchdown that season on a 102-yard kickoff return in a divisional playoff game against the Packers. Another possibility is free-agent acquisition Domenik Hixon, who excelled as a return specialist early in his career. As a rookie with the Giants in 2007, he returned a kickoff 74 yards for a touchdown in the regular season finale against the undefeated Patriots, and then averaged 25.3 yards on 10 kickoffs in the post-season en route to a Super Bowl championship. Hixon continued to return kicks for the Giants in 2008-09 before his career was interrupted by injuries. He missed the entire 2010 season after tearing his ACL during a minicamp practice and then returned in 2011 only to rupture the same ACL the second week of the season. Another contender figures to be former CFL star Chris Williams, an explosive 5-8, 175-pounder who signed with the Bears prior to last year's season finale. And don't forget second-year pro Michael Ford, a former LSU star who ranked second in the SEC in kickoff returns in 2012, averaging 27.5 yards with four returns of at least 40 yards. Don't get me wrong; I'm beyond thrilled that the Bears signed a big-time pass rusher in Jared Allen. But I'm afraid that he won't have the same success playing on natural grass that he did on the fast track up in Minnesota. Has he had better sack totals on artificial turf? Jared Allen has pretty much been a sack machine regardless of where he's played. In six seasons with the Vikings from 2008-13, he recorded 27 sacks in 29 road games played on natural grass (.93 per game) and 58.5 sacks in 67 games on artificial turf (.87 per game). When Phil Emery was asked whether he was worried that Allen is more productive on turf, the Bears general manager said: "I saw him sack us on our field. I'm not really concerned about that. I think he's a fine football player. I think the surface doesn't really matter to him because of his high-level instincts, his ability to rush the passer, his use of his length, his leverage, his toughness. He's a physical player and a high-motor player, so I don't think surface matters." I'm extremely excited about the Bears signing Jared Allen but am wondering what roles the four defensive ends they've added this offseason will play this year. Do you see a couple of them sliding inside and playing tackle in passing situations? I think it's too early to definitively say exactly what roles Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, Willie Young and Israel Idonije will fill in 2014. (And don't forget David Bass, a young defensive end the Bears are high on.) Allen is certainly the most accomplished pass rusher of the group and I suspect will be an every-down starter. Houston and Idonije are both stout ends who have also played inside, so I think it's possible that we could see four ends on the field in some passing situations with Houston and Idonije lining up at tackle with Allen and Young at end. But again, let's wait until training camp and the preseason to see how the players are being used and then it will be much easier to decipher what their roles are going to be this season. The bottom line to me is that general manager Phil Emery has completely renovated the defensive line with quality depth just as he did with the offensive line a year ago, and that's even before the draft has taken place. It seems like Jared Allen always got a ton of sacks against the Bears. Would it be correct to assume that he has more sacks against them than any other team? It's very close, but Jared Allen actually has more sacks against the Packers (16) and Lions (15.5) than he does versus the Bears (15). However, his 41 tackles against the Bears are the most versus any NFL team. Interestingly, Allen has sacks against 29 of the 32 NFL teams with the only exceptions being the Browns, Saints and Seahawks. It seems like every team has a "trade partner" and I was wondering if there's been one team the Bears have partnered with more than others in making deals. The Bears have made 15 trades since 2008, and six of those deals have been with the Buccaneers. They: 1) Traded quarterback Brian Griese for a sixth-round pick on March 3, 2008; 2) Moved down five spots in the fourth round of the 2008 and selected safety Craig Steltz in a deal that also produced a pick they used to choose tight end Kellen Davis in the fifth round; 3) Traded the pick they acquired from the Buccaneers for Griese back to Tampa in exchange for guard Dan Buenning; 4) Traded a second-round pick to the Buccaneers for defensive end Gaines Adams on Oct. 16, 2009; 5) Sent a seventh-round pick to Tampa for defensive tackle Brian Price; and 6) Acquired a sixth-round choice in exchange for guard Gabe Carimi. The first four trades were done when Jerry Angelo was general manager and the last two were completed by his successor, Phil Emery. It will be interesting to see whether the two teams continue to make deals now that former Bears head coach Lovie Smith is in the same position with the Buccaneers. I don't think it's fair that the Bears have to play on the road six times in an eight-game span from Weeks 2-10 this year. Why did the NFL do that to them? There was a very interesting article in Peter King's "Monday Morning Quarterback" column on SportsIllustrated.com about the challenges facing the NFL schedule-makers. Looking at the Bears, they said that they couldn't schedule home games for Week 2 due to a NASCAR race and PGA golf tournament in town, Week 6 because of the Chicago Marathon which starts and ends at Soldier Field, and Week 9 because there's a rugby game at Soldier Field on Saturday night. It's definitely going to be a tough stretch, but the good news is that the Bears will play three straight and five of six at home late in the season. I was under the impression that the Lions had to host the Bills or Dolphins on Thanksgiving and the Bears weren't a candidate to play in that game. Can you explain how that changed? The Lions' traditional Thanksgiving home game has alternated between CBS and FOX every year with CBS televising Detroit's contests against AFC opponents and FOX broadcasting games versus NFC squads. It's CBS' turn this year, which led to the belief that the Lions' opponent would be either the Bills or Dolphins, the two AFC opponents they're playing in 2014. But for the first time this year, the NFL has introduced a concept known as "crossflexing," which enables the league to move up to seven FOX games to CBS and up to seven CBS contests to FOX annually. So that's how it's possible for the Lions to host an NFC team in the Bears on Thanksgiving this year.