If you were expecting the Bears to be all sentimental and have a five day mourning period over the departure of Brian Urlacher, guess again. The Bears continue to rebuild their linebacking corps, signing veteran linebacker James Anderson to a one-year contract. Exact terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it’s expected to be a value signing and a chance for the former Carolina Panther to show his value to get back on the open market next year. Anderson was a cap casualty in Carolina after signing a 5-year deal just a couple of seasons ago.
Anderson has made 44 of his 53 starts as the strong side (Sam) linebacker, so it’s expected he’ll slide into the Sam linebacker spot left vacant when Nick Roach signed with the Oakland Raiders.
As recently as 2011, Anderson finished in the Top 10 in the NFL in tackles with 145. He was a tackling machine for the Panthers, setting a team record last season with 20 tackles vs the New York Giants.
The additions of Anderson and DJ Williams restock the Bears with veteran linebackers and give them a little (very little) bit of draft flexibility. While they have projected starters, they will be aged 29 (Anderson), 31 (Williams) and Briggs (32) when the season begins. When he joined the Bears, the kooky Martellus Bennett said he likes dinosaurs, so it’s sure he’ll love the Bears linebackers. The Bears definitely need to get younger and still need to draft at least one or two linebackers in the upcoming draft but at least they have experienced professionals manning the position.