Free agency is well underway today for the NFL. The Chicago Bears have been keeping busy so far. Not long ago, they made a splash on the defensive side of the ball by signing one of their more coveted free agent targets in defensive end Lamarr Houston.
Moments ago, it came across the wire that linebacker D.J. Williams would be retained by the Bears on a one-year deal. You may remember that he was a Day 1 starter for the team, along with Lance Briggs and James Anderson.
Of those three, Anderson was the only one to remain healthy for the entirety of the season. Williams ruptured his pectoral tendon during a Week 6 game against the New York Giants and missed the remainder of the season (Briggs fractured his shoulder, but returned weeks later).
At 31, bringing back an aging veteran with health issues is a risk, especially when a defense performed as poorly as the Bears did as a whole this past season. Due to the fact that Williams’ deal is only for one year, it shows that the team isn’t quite committed to him for the future, but they are willing to allow him to compete for his job again this season.
To his credit, Williams was a part of the upper echelon of linebackers when he was a starter for the Denver Broncos. For a few years, he was a lock to get more than 100+ tackles per year, until he started to display a regression in skill and his play time dwindled as a result. Expect him to not only be healthier this season, but to battle to rejoin Briggs as one of the starting linebackers.