Nick Roach is gone, turning to the dark side and leaving the Chicago Bears to become the starting middle linebacker for the Oakland Raiders. He’s going to get somewhere in the neighborhood of $3-$4 million per year over a few years, though exact terms are not yet known. Many Bears fans are expecting a counter-move by Phil Emery, re-signing Brian Urlacher.
A lot of people think that Roach’s departure suddenly forces the Bears to bring back Urlacher. While it’s certainly very possible that #54 returns to the Bears, it won’t be because of Nick Roach. I am confident that the Bears have a price in mind for Brian Urlacher and won’t stray too far from their number.
As Phil Emery has told us after the Bears splurged on new toys for the offensive side of the ball, the Bears “are up against the cap” and will have to scrutinize each move very carefully. Sean Jensen reports that the Bears are about $5.6 million under the cap as the dust settles following a couple additions and a few departures. That’s not a ton of money when you consider the Bears need to save about $3 million for the rookie pool and usually save a few bucks of “rainy day money” in case they need to find an injury replacement or something pops up.
If Urlacher wants the $5 million, he’s not likely to get it from Chicago. Maybe Minnesota gets back at the Bears for driving up the price on Phil Loadholt and entices him to sign a spite deal.
Other options to play linebacker for the Bears are not likely on the roster today. Geno Hayes left via Free Agency leaving Blake Costanzo, Dom DiCicco and JT Thomas as the most notable names to play the linebacker spots, so the need is clear. Whether the Bears look to Daryl Smith, who played for Mel Tucker in Jacksonville, or head to the draft is still unclear.
Make no mistake, Brian Urlacher will only be back if he wants to be and if the Bears can get him for their price.
What do you think Bears fans? Does Nick Roach’s departure put pressure on the Bears to bring Urlacher back? Do you think Urlacher will be back?