5 Landing Spots for Brian Urlacher in 2013 NFL Free Agency
Brian Urlacher: 5 Landing Spots for LB in 2013 NFL Free Agency
After 13 seasons with the Chicago Bears, future Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher is looking for a new NFL team to call his own for the first time in his career. The No. 9 overall pick of the 2000 NFL Draft still has plenty left in the tank at 34 and is now ready to prove his worth after turning down a "slap in the face" offer from the Bears. Urlacher clearly thinks he's worth more than the one-year, $2 million deal he was offered by Chicago, which he called "an ultimatum," so he's not going to be cheap.
However, there are a few teams who have a shot at winning a Super Bowl in the next few years that also have enough cap room to give Urlacher the $3.5 million salary he wants. Assuming they are all wise enough to pursue the new free agent linebacker, Urlacher could have multiple options on the table very soon.
One thing is certain: the team with which he signs will have to commit to making Urlacher a centerpiece within its defense. Urlacher wouldn't be demanding a certain salary if he wasn't confident he could still lead an elite defense like he did for the first half of the 2012 season.
We've narrowed the potential suitors down to the top five possible landing spots for Urlacher, but we want to know what you think. Let us know which of these five teams is the best fit for Urlacher or if there's another one that would be even better by commenting below.
The Ravens are bleeding starters this offseason and the departures of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed have left two huge holes in Baltimore's defense. What better way to rebuild a unit fresh off a Super Bowl win than by replacing one future Hall of Fame linebacker with another? Urlacher is smart enough to lead the Ravens' highly-touted front and his pass defense skills would give Baltimore an element it didn't have with Lewis at the helm. The Ravens also have just enough cap room left to sign one big name on defense via free agency.
Put simply, the Bengals have a ton of cap room and desperately need help at the inside linebacker position. Unlike Baltimore, Cincinnati runs a 4-3 defense, which is what Urlacher was used to playing in Chicago, so the transition would be smooth. The Bengals need a playmaker in their front seven and they have money to spend, so this seems like a perfect match.
What better way to expedite Von Miller's growth as arguably the best defensive player in the NFL than by bringing in a mentor like Urlacher? Denver is already built to win a championship and has almost $8 million left in cap space to sign more big names and Urlacher would only take up half of that. The Broncos recently switched to the 4-3 defense, so a veteran like Urlacher would fit in perfectly with all the young studs Denver boasts at the linebacker position in that he wouldn't be relied on so heavily.
The Texans have just enough cap room to sign Urlacher and need a new inside linebacker after Bradie James and Tim Dobbins were less than spectacular in 2012 to put it politely. Houston runs a 3-4 defense, but defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has a way of making things work with his unit, so Urlacher could make the switch, especially considering he's smarter than the average bear (no pun intended).
Bears fans are going to turn their noses up here, but Minnesota is the most likely landing spot for Urlacher. The Vikings are on the uptick and could really use a solid leader on defense to help out a young, up-and-coming offense that relies way too heavily on Adrian Peterson. Minnesota runs a 4-3, so Urlacher would fit right in with fellow NFC North castaway Greg Jennings. The best part? Urlacher would get to play the Bears twice a year.