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Report: Chicago Bears eyeing Jake Long, Phil Loadholt

After allowing an outrageous 149 sacks over the past three seasons, the Chicago Bears are looking to strengthen an offensive line that has let quarterback Jay Cutler down one too many times.

Two proven tackles -- Jake Long and Phil Loadholt -- reportedly are on the Bears' radar as Tuesday's start to free agency approaches.

Tom Pelissero of ESPN Twin Cities reported the Bears have legitimate interest in Loadholt and have dangled more attractive contract numbers than the right tackle's current employer, the Minnesota Vikings. Pelissero reported the Vikings actively are working to clear salary-cap space, but cap space (with Percy Harvin out the door) isn't the sticking point with Loadholt. Minnesota reportedly has no interest in entering a bidding war for the right tackle and won't go above $5 million annually for his services.

Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times cited a source to confirm the Bears' interest in Loadholt, who has started 63 games for the Vikings over the past four seasons.

On the Long front, NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah has heard the bookend's name repeatedly linked to the Bears and St. Louis Rams. Jensen confirmed the same. Undoubtedly, these whispers are music to the ears of Bears fans everywhere.

New coach Marc Trestman's offense will hinge on productive play from Cutler, a quarterback who has been abused in Chicago. The line has been a disaster for years, but there's legitimate heat around the team's desire to upgrade the position group, a move that's long overdue.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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