Although the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis will be the center of popular viewing and talk this weekend, the real action will be behind the scenes as teams chat with agents, not so much for the NFL hopefuls, but for the pending free agents, including several from the Bears.

These talks go on every year even though, in this case, the official kickoff for negotiations isn’t until Mar. 8 and signings to follow beginning at 3:01 p.m. CT on Mar. 11.

The Bears are expected to begin talks regarding re-signing defensive end Corey Wootton, coming off minor hip surgery in January but a key part of the defensive plan going forward. Attention has been directed at defensive tackle because of so many unsigned (Nate Collins, Henry Melton, Jeremiah Ratliff, Landon Cohen, all of whom started at one point last year) but with Shea McClellin ticketed for linebacker, Wootton’s importance as an edge pass rusher and nickel rushman inside might be overlooked. It shouldn’t be.