The Chicago Bears have been awfully quiet on signing their internal free agents to new deals lately. They still have a few to make decisions on, most notably with future Hall of Fame middle linebacker Brian Urlacher who is now an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.
Many of the opinions revolving around the fact that Urlacher has lost a step could be true. Last season he was not himself. Urlacher was seen missing tackles he normally makes, getting beat on coverage over the middle and overall not making as many big plays as he’s been used to over the years.
The argument at hand starts with the fact that Urlacher was injured last season. In the 2011-12 season, he was healthy and looked like the usual player fans see on the field. Last year, he fought through a hamstring injury that appears to finally be healed. Going into next season, Brian Urlacher will be at full health.
Next, the Bears need Urlacher on the field because of his leadership capabilities. He is indeed their “field general,” being able to read an offense and call audibles as necessary. Urlacher can make sure everyone out there is doing their job. He knows the defense better than anybody else on that team, which is invaluable to Chicago.
With Urlacher on the field, the Bears tend to play with more confidence (I refuse to use the word swagger, people). He inspires his teammates to play better, a trait that coaches desire more than just about anything else. As much as Nick Roach has been a fair backup to Urlacher, he lacks this quality about him.
Many Bears fans would like to see Roach go elsewhere in free agency, thus making it more of a priority to bring Urlacher back. In this scenario, it will be all the more important for Chicago to go after a linebacker higher in the draft to start along with Urlacher and fellow Pro Bowler Lance Briggs.
As of right now, there is only one team that even has the slightest interest in the veteran, that being the Dallas Cowboys who are said to have “minimal interest.” This should be reassuring to Bears fans. However, if Urlacher were to be on the field next year for any team other than the Chicago Bears, it will not only be a shame, but a giant mistake.