Brian Urlacher was the face of the Chicago Bears for 13 seasons, but after failing to come to an agreement on a new contract the team and Urlacher parted ways on Wednesday. So where does the future Hall of Fame linebacker go now?
Reports circulated last week that the Minnesota Vikings were interested in the eight-time Pro Bowler, but for that to happen he would have to take less than what he was unwilling to play for from Chicago. Furthermore, it contradicts the philosophy of Vikings general manager, Rick Spielman who is looking to transform the roster with young players than can be long-term solutions. Urlacher simply doesn’t fit that profile.
I think Urlacher is going to be hard pressed to find any offers greater than the one-year deal for $2 million that he termed a “slap in the face” on Wednesday because there isn’t a big need for a 4-3 middle linebacker.
I propose two solutions for Urlacher now that he is officially unemployed.
First, he could use the year to freshen up his body and make sure the knee he injured in the final game of 2011 and spent the entire offseason trying to rehabilitate is as close to 100% as possible and make a return in 2014. That move would be similar to what Randy Moss did this year when he was not receiving much interest on the free agent market and effectively retired before returning this season with the San Francisco 49ers.
Second, I wonder if the bridges have been burned between Urlacher and Bears management and if this separation can be repaired once Urlacher realizes the market for him isn’t what his ego would like it to be. I think it’s a long shot, but I’m not alone in that sentiment.
Not convinced the divorce between Urlacher and Bears is final.Depressed marketplace could lead him back to $2M deal there.
— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) March 21, 2013
Former Bears linebacker, Doug Buffone said Urlacher would embarrass himself with a new team, so perhaps Urlacher swallows his pride, takes his medicine and comes back to the team with his tail tucked between his legs and plays for the one-year offer for $2 million.
He can either retire or accept the reality of the situation and take what will have been the best and perhaps only offer he received and ride off into the sunset in 2014.
Happy endings are saved for fairy tales, but in this case it’s plausible that could be the end result.