NFL free agency begins today at 4 PM ET, and the Bears just prevented one of their own free agents from reaching the market.

The Bears and cornerback Tim Jennings have agreed to terms on a two-year contract. It's unknown at the moment the amount of money Jennings will be paid, but it's unlikely to be anything substantial.

The 28-year-old (29 in December) Jennings signed with the Bears prior to the 2010 season, after spending his first four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts (second round pick in 2006). He became a surprise starter in that season for the Bears, and in total, started 28 games over the last two seasons. He played in all 32 games over the two seasons.

In 2011, Jennings intercepted two passes, deflected 10 passes, forced one fumble, recovered one fumble, had four stuffs, and 77 tackles.

The outstanding website Pro Football Focus had this to say about Jennings on Twitter:

Tim Jennings was one of just 2 starting CBs not to allow a TD. Perfect fit for Bears cover 2
The 5'8", 185-pounder won't wow you, but he's fundamentally solid, physical, and a very good tackler for the cornerback position, something the Bears look for in their defense much more than most teams do.

The Bears will go into camp expecting Jennings to again be the starting cornerback opposite Peanut Tillman, and you can now count them out of the running for free agent cornerbacks like Cortland Finnegan. With that in mind, and with he Bears going for a "cheaper" starting option at cornerback, I fully expect them to target one of the top pass-rushing defensive ends on the market, such as Mario Williams, Jeremy Mincey, and Kamerion Wimbley (assumed he's released by the Raiders).

Stay tuned.

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