On the heels of signing unrestricted free agent defensive end Lamarr Houston to a five-year deal, the Chicago Bears also directed their attention to re-signing one of their own on the first day of free agency. The Bears have agreed to a one-year deal with linebacker D.J. Williams. This makes Williams the 13th player that the Bears have re-signed since this past December.
The 11-year pro signed a one-year deal with the organization last year, in hopes to fill the void at middle linebacker, which was left by future Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher. Unfortunately, Williams only played six games for the Bears in 2013, due to a ruptured pectoral tendon suffered in Week 6 that landed him on injured reserve.
Retaining Williams is a good move made by general manager Phil Emery. Because of Williams’ season-ending injury, Chicago was forced to throw in rookie linebacker Jon Bostic sooner than expected. As a result, the Bears’ defense finished the season with their worse defensive year in franchise history. In Bostic’s defense, he wasn’t the only one to blame for Chicago’s failure. The entire defense was plagued with injuries.
However, the return of Williams will give Bostic another year to learn behind a seasoned veteran, which will better prepare him to take over in 2015. Furthermore, this signing has given the Bears one less thing to worry about this upcoming May when the 2014 NFL Draft begins.
Hopefully, the re-signing of Williams will be followed up by doing the same for defensive end Corey Wootton, and possibly defensive tackle Henry Melton. I know asking for both Wootton and Melton to return is asking a bit much, but the more players Chicago can re-sign from last season, the better.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller.