The Pro Bowl cornerback's contract expires after the 2013 season, and Tillman will test the free-agent waters, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Saturday, per a source with knowledge of the player's thinking.
Tillman might return to the Bears, Rapoport added, but Tillman never has been a true free agent, so he will explore his options.
Tillman's 2013 season was ravaged by an assortment of injuries (triceps, groin and knee), and he was limited to just eight games. He did play all 16 games each season from 2010 to 2012, but it's unlikely the Bears will dole out anything near the $7.95 million he made in 2013.
"I'm not really worried about it," Tillman said, via the Chicago Tribune. "I have some decisions I have to make in the next couple of weeks, couple of months. I am just going to see what happens. I have some options, I have some thoughts."
The Tribune speculated that Tillman might attempt to reunite with new Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith in Tampa Bay. Tillman will be 33 next month (ancient for a cornerback), but would comprise a formidable duo with Darrelle Revis. The Bucs also have Johnthan Banks, whom the team selected in the second round of last year's NFL draft.
Another option for Tillman is a move to safety; a transition aging corners like Charles Woodson and Rod Woodson made with success. The move would seem to be a natural one, as Tillman is one of the best in the game at forcing fumbles (40 career strips). But thus far, Tillman has balked at the idea, according to the Tribune.