Roberto Garza, Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Rex Grossman. (File photos)

The Bears have done a lot of work to build the roster since the end of the regular season and in free agency. What about an extension for wide receiver Brandon Marshall who is entering the final year of his contract? Is that in the cards for Phil Emery? -- Miguel R., Chicago

That’s a good question and one that is difficult to answer definitively at this point. Right now my take is that an extension for Marshall prior to the start of the coming season is unlikely. That’s just a hunch and it is certainly not based on the club’s feeling about Marshall and his future. He’s been as good or better than expected since arriving in the 2012 trade as he ranks second in the NFL in catches over the last two seasons with 218, fourth with 2,803 receiving yards and fifth with 23 touchdowns. Marshall is on the books this season for $9.3 million with $9.1 million in base salary and $200,000 in the form of a workout bonus. I base my opinion on the fact that the Bears have spent a lot of money already this offseason and going back to the very end of last season when contract extensions emerged for players coming out of contract.

If you look at the deal for Jared Allen, the Bears are paying him the big money in the contract in 2015 and generally speaking players want their pay day up front in free agency. Allen has an $11 million fully guaranteed roster bonus for 2015 and it was pushed back a year for probably two reasons -- cap space and cash budget. They go hand in hand. The Bears could have carved out more cap room to give Allen more dough this year but I am betting the cash budget came into play. My guess is the Bears had to get creative to give Allen the guarantee he sought while not having to pay the bulk of it until next year.

Some have suggested that an extension for Marshall could lower his $9.3 million cap hit for this season but I think it is going to be tough to lower his cap figure (at least significantly) while giving him a market-value deal and cap space isn’t a pressing issue for the Bears as I have detailed already this offseason. Marshall is going to command a big pay day and is certainly deserving of being one of the highest-paid wide receivers in the league provided he remains healthy. Durability has certainly been one of Marshall’s many strengths. He just turned 30 and the good news is elite wide receivers have a pattern of playing very well into their mid-30’s. The Bears have a recent track record of having players play out their contracts before being paid. Lance Briggs is entering the final year of his contract. Jay Cutler and Charles Tillman just played to the end of their respective contracts. Ditto Tim Jennings, Robbie Gould and Roberto Garza. So it’s not like Marshall would be in a unique position playing out his contract. The upside for a club in extending a player early is potentially getting the player at somewhat of a discount by maintaining the integrity of the existing contract. The upside for the player getting a deal done early is cash and long-term security. But the team inherits injury risk in extending a player early and Marshall has had three hip surgeries in his career. The Bears also have Alshon Jeffery’s future to consider. The soonest he can get a new contract is after this coming season. Emery might prefer to let the situation play out over the course of the season and then consider his options. The budget might dictate that he has to do that. Marshall has made it clear he wants to continue with the Bears so the risk in losing him via free agency is probably not what it could be. Marshall will be able to maximize his value by reaching the open market if he indeed gets there.

Aside from being the incumbent, what leads you to believe Roberto Garza is the starting center for 2014? -- @IBleedBluNOrang from Twitter

The Bears have told Garza and newcomer Brian de la Puente as much. Garza will be the starter in 2014.

Can you see a scenario in the preseason where de la Puente forces Garza to guard, Kyle Long to right tackle and Jordan Mills to the bench? -- @PatrickASchmidt from Twitter

Basically you’re talking about de la Puente replacing Mills in the lineup. I suppose that is possible but I deem that unlikely. For starters, the Bears are upbeat about Mills and his future and expect him to make significant gains in his second season. It’s also unlikely because you’re talking about three changes in the starting lineup to replace one player. Generally speaking, teams don’t want to shuffle their line that much, especially a unit that performed well last season. Coach Marc Trestman said at the owners meeting that Long is penciled in at right guard

What is the center position going to look like in 2014 and beyond with de la Puente in the fold? -- @coreyeldiablo from Twitter

Garza will be the starter and de la Puente projects as the top backup on the interior of the line. Beyond 2014, it’s up in the air. Garza has said he wants to take it year-by-year at this point in his career and the Bears are approaching him the same way. Maybe he plays well and could return in 2015. Perhaps this is his final season and then the Bears look at re-signing de la Puente, who will be 30 entering the 2015 season, as the starter. There is a lot of ground to cover before we get there.

Will Lamarr Houston be playing much three technique? Or will he just slide down in pass rush situations? -- @PagettAdam from Twitter

The personnel men I have spoken to believe Houston’s best position is left end. One of his strengths is that he can play on the right side and also has the ability to play inside. I envision Houston starting at left end and getting reps inside in pass-rushing situations. But he has the versatility to do a little of everything. Houston’s preference is to play on the outside and he’ll probably do that most of the time in the base defense.

Would Willie Young have signed thinking he'd be a starter? Or would they have explained to him there will be plenty of snaps for him? -- @giltius from Twitter

After starting most of last season in Detroit and getting $4 million guaranteed in a three-year contract from the Bears, Young likely figured he would be in the mix for a starting job. I am sure when Allen was added to the mix, the club reached out to Young to reassure him it has significant plans for him. Some games are going to dictate the Bears be in their nickel personnel close to two-thirds of the time and I would imagine Young will get solid playing time in those instances. He’s got upside and should see plenty of action.

I am very excited to have Allen in the fold. What do you expect the defensive end rotation to look like? I assume Allen and Houston are the starters with Young and Israel Idonije backing them up. I have much love for Idonije for all his years of service but was really impressed with David Bass last season. Wouldn't the Bears be better off continuing to develop Bass rather than plugging in the below-average and over-the-hill (if reliable) Idonije? He did nothing for Detroit last season. – Dave M., Portland, Ore.

The top three ends are clearly Allen, Houston and Young. Bass showed flashes of being a nice young player last season and needs to continue to develop. The Bears have some solid competition for the fourth end position that also includes Cheta Ozougwu as well as Austen Lance and Trevor Scott. Idonije could also figure in the mix inside at tackle and that could be where the Bears look to use him. Bass needs to get better and nothing is going to be handed to him. In a best-case scenario, the Bears have to make a difficult roster cut come September.

Did rookie defensive end Bass show last year that he is worthy of staying on the roster this upcoming season? -- @TannerDSports from Twitter

I wouldn’t say Bass did anything in 2013 that guarantees him a 2014 roster spot. The Bears certainly look better at defensive end than they did a year ago and that should push Bass to elevate his game. We’ll see what he can do. He will certainly have an opportunity to carve out a spot on the roster.

With less needs on the roster and more depth across the board after the moves in free agency, could you see the Bears trading up for Justin Gilbert? -- @haas24712 from Twitter

Some people like Gilbert as the top cornerback in the draft class but I don’t see the Bears being in a position to trade up. They need more picks -- not less -- and cornerback is one of the positions with good depth in this draft.