The Chicago Bears and linebacker Brian Urlacher are at an impasse.
The team offered the aging veteran a $2-million, one-year deal, and he took it as an insult. Barring some unforeseen circumstances, it appears that we’ve seen the last of Urlacher in a Bears uniform.
When Urlacher first hit the open market, there were several teams that showed hesitant interest in the 34-year-old. One of those teams was the Minnesota Vikings, a divisional rival of Urlacher’s former team. Rumors began to swirl of the Vikings’ interest in bringing him aboard to fill their vacancy at middle linebacker, but they were quickly shot down, tagging the interest as mere due diligence by GM Rick Spielman.
With the latest development in the Urlacher-Bears saga, it appears that he’s going to have to find a new home in the NFL if he wants to play in 2013. While the Vikings could re-enter the equation, something must happen first.
In order for the Vikings to become serious suitors for Urlacher, his asking price must drop significantly.
“RE: Brian Urlacher, I was told in Phoenix that #Vikings aren’t interested. Only way that *maybe* changes is if price comes way, way down,” plugged-in Vikings beat writer Tom Pelissero said via Twitter.
At this point in his career, Urlacher simply isn’t worth that much. Throughout the 2012 campaign, he looked slow and ineffective, especially in pass coverage. Compared to the ferocious linebacker that once struck fear in anyone who dared enter his territory, Urlacher was a hollow shell.
While he’d be an intriguing option for the Vikings at middle linebacker, Spielman understands that there’s no need to overpay for a has-been. Minnesota has a promising young player in Audie Cole, who could eventually develop into a solid starter. The upcoming 2013 NFL Draft also offers some potential candidates to replace Jasper Brinkley, who left for the Arizona Cardinals via free agency.
Urlacher may have been the face of a franchise, but he must now face reality. At 34-years-old, he’s no longer the dominant defender he once was. It’s not like he’s coming off of a Ray Lewis-type of 2012 season. If he wants to continue playing in the NFL, it’s going to have to be at a drastically-reduced price.
Unless he gets that through his thick skull, Urlacher better get comfortable in that recliner.