The Chicago Bears are in search of linebackers. This week, the team lost Geno Hayes to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Earlier today the Bears also lost coveted backup MLB, Nick Roach to the Oakland Raiders. Team captain, Brian Urlacher has yet to reach an agreement as well, as contract talks have been stalled by the Minnesota Vikings
My guess is the calls into Urlacher’s camp are legitimate. But as a division rival, the Vikings are indeed driving up Urlacher’s price because they can. If they succeed, great. If Urlacher signs with the Bears, they are no worse for the wear. Urlacher and the Bears should ultimately strike an agreement, but the need at linebacker is now just as important as the offensive line.
There is no word of who the Bears may be interested in at the position. Personally, I would love it if the Bears were playing their own games with the Detroit Lions. They are financially strapped with their previous signings as well and sit in negotiations with linebacker Justin Durant. Durant would be the perfect replacement for Roach on the outside or to back up the middle. Durant has the same six year veteran leadership and he is ripe for poaching. He knows the 4-3, cover 2 defense the Bears run and would instantly upgrade the unit.
I also like the Cincinnati Bengals, Rey Maualuga. He was never the linebacker the Bengals envisioned but he did indeed breakout a bit last season. He would come at a modest price and could help bolster the position which is in need of bodies at this point.
If the Bears grab those two players for the right price, they could go into the NFL draft with way more depth than they have now. Durant and Maualuga should fit into the Bears financial picture. The only other question would be the back up quarterback position. How much do they intend to offer Jason Campbell?
In any case, linebacker priority is now at threat level red for the team. Dom Decicco is simply not the answer on the strong side at this point in his career. Blake Costanzo filled in nicely while not wreaking havoc on special teams. But he doesn’t appear suited for a full term linebacker gig. J.T Thomas also showed ability to play special teams and his position at linebacker could possibly be up in the air. I would be speculating about that though. As of now, he seems more fit to only play on special teams.
And finally, the team has Patrick Trahan and Lawrence Wilson floating around. Overall, the group as they stand now are a bunch of misfits with the exception of Briggs and Costanzo. New head coach, Marc Trestman and defensive coordinator, Mel Tucker surely have to be thinking of a better plan. If I can pick out the glaring problem with the position, you can guarantee the Bears see it too. There’s more signings to come. There has to be.