A day after the Chicago Bears released the face of their franchise in Brian Urlacher, questions remain on what the plan is to attempt on replacing him. Anybody available via Free Agency or the NFL Draft at this point would fail to reach Urlacher’s contributions right away.
One of the names that has surfaced around Chicago has been Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith, who is also a free agent. Smith has spent his entire career with the Jaguars after being drafted by them in 2004.
Smith has been a fairly solid linebacker for the Jaguars, but most of the time goes unnoticed due to the fact that he plays in Jacksonville. Over the span of his career he has compiled 679 total tackles, 21.5 sacks, nine forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and six interceptions. This is certainly not too shabby of a pedigree.
Last year was the first year that Smith had not played at least 14 games in a season, after going out with a serious groin injury. He only appeared in two games last season as a result of the injury.
At 31-years old, Smith still has a few serviceable years left in him. The Bears would be wise to sign a guy like him to get them through the next couple of years while they search for the next future legend at middle linebacker. He knows what it takes to play the position, and assuming he’s healthy, he would be a viable option for Chicago.
More importantly, he appears to be affordable for the Bears. The team is pretty much strapped for cash at this point, and has to address most of their needs through the draft, or by signing a handful of cheap free agents to compete for roster spots.
The day after a breakup is not always easy Bears fans, but the fact of the matter is Chicago has to move on. Finding somebody who knows the game of football and can be a vocal leader on the field will be as important as any priority this off season.