Devin Hester, your salary demands are ridiculous.
The former Bears return specialist is seeking a salary in the neighborhood of $4 million per year as an unrestricted free agent, according to a report at ESPN.com.
If that's true, Hester may wait a long while before signing -- like forever.
The NFL's all-time leader in combined kickoff and punt-return TDs with 18, visited the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday and was believed to have stayed overnight. Hester has said there are "at least 15" teams that have shown interest in signing him, but the visit with the Falcons was his first.
Hester, 31, was paid $2.1 million in his final season with the Bears, and he led the NFL with 1,436 kickoff-return yards. His 27.6-yard average was sixth best in the league. Hester's 14.2-yard punt-return average would have been third in the NFL, but his 18 attempts were 2 short of qualifying.
Hester scored on 3 kick returns in 2011, but he has just 1 TD in the last two seasons on 134 chances. In his first two seasons 2006-07) Hester scored 11 return touchdowns on 152 chances.
Late Tuesday the Falcons signed cornerback-kick returner Javier Arenas, but he is seen primarily as a nickel corner and a capable return guy. Hester is better than that, even though his production has dropped off.
The Bears' second-round pick (57th overall) in 2006 has also expressed a desire to play in Miami, near his hometown of Riviera Beach (Fla.), and in Tampa, where former Bears boss Lovie Smith is the Bucs' head coach.
The Bears and cornerback Sherrick McManis, who was second on the team last year with 15 special teams tackles, have agreed on a one-year deal for $730,000.
The 26-year-old, four-year veteran from Northwestern started one game last season after Charles Tillman suffered a torn triceps.
McManis, a Peoria native, had 10 special teams tackles for the Bears in 2012 after he was acquired in a trade from the Texans for fullback Tyler Clutts on Aug. 31. The 6-foot-1, 193-pound McManis was drafted by Houston in the fifth round (144th overall) in 2010.
"Anytime you get a corner who is a good tough tackler, that's a huge plus, and Sherrick definitely showed the ability to do that," Bears special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis told the team's website. "He also just brings an outstanding attitude every day. He's a guy that I'm really glad we got back."
Under the terms of his unusual prove-it contract with the Dallas Cowboys, defensive tackle Henry Melton can earn up to $5 million this season and, if he's on the roster on the first day of the 2015 league year, he gets $9 million guaranteed over the next three years and potentially a lot more -- up to $8 million per year.
If Melton regains the Pro Bowl form he displayed in 2012 with the Bears, he'll be a big winner and collect as much as $29 million over four years, according to figures reported by Ian Rapoport.
Money matters II:
The maximum value of Charles Tillman's one-year contract is $3.4 million.
While he was paid $8 million last season, Tillman's base salary for this season is $2.25 million, of which $750,000 is guaranteed, including a $500,000 signing bonus. In addition to the base salary, Tillman can earn an additional $400,000 in roster bonuses ($25,000 per game), and $100,000 for a workout bonus. He can also earn an extra $150,000 by intercepting 5 passes, which he has done three times in his career. His salary cap number is $3.025 million.
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