Chicago Sun-Times

Deal for Urlacher leaves top pick Williams as only remaining business

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And then there was one.

With Brian Urlacher agreeing to a reworked contract on Monday, the eve of training camp, all that's left to do for the Bears is sign first-round draft pick Chris Williams. It's expected Williams will be in camp on time, but there was never a guarantee things would be done for Urlacher.

By agreeing to terms with the face of the franchise on an $18 million, one-year extension, the Bears have taken a large step toward trying to build some harmony in the locker room after negotiations that were ugly at times this offseason. Urlacher will receive a $6 million signing bonus and has his base salary bumped up by $1 million each of the next four seasons. The $1 million bumps are not contingent on play time, which is how the club's original offer was structured.

Urlacher underwent neck surgery this offseason and has a chronic back condition but he played all last season and was in top form at the end of the season. He didn't like the idea of the $1 million each season being tied to play time and now it makes it simple for Urlacher--if he plays the next four seasons he'll earn $10 million more than he was set to pull down as part of the $56.65 million, nine-year deal he signed in 2003.

Urlacher is now under contract through 2012 at a cost of $8 million.

The Bears are still working on signing Williams, who is represented by the same agents who handle Urlacher. It's imperative he be in camp from Day 1 if he is to lock down the starting left tackle position. When the Bears sign Williams they will have to release one player to reach the 80-man limit. With the recent addition of running back Kevin Jones, that or fullback would figure to be possible positions the team could target.

Stay tuned for more information.

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8 Comments

Good, positive news. It's nice to see the Urlacher issue finally worked out. All the clowns saying that Brian had his worst season last year are just that: clowns.

Who gets cut for Williams? Maybe a WR. Brandon Rideau? Maybe Ricky Manning gets traded for a draft pick? But I think it's a good idea to keep Manning around given all the injuries last season. You never know...

While the Chicago Bears are getting lambasted by almost every national so-called 'NFL expert', they have strived to keep one of the best defenses intact. Let's forget about the offense for a second and focus on a defense that when healthy, is a top-5 unit. I recently read a scouting report that said the 'd' was getting old and I had to stop for a second and do the math. Counting the draft 2008 draft picks, I am certain da Bears' defense is one of the younger units in the league. Besides Urlacher, Brown & Ogunleye, most of the starters are 27 or younger. Now is that old? I don't think so. I am so excited to see the Monsters of the Midway get back to form this year. If they can stay relatively healthy and play more aggressive, ball-hawking ferocious 'd' we will win games even with a sub-par offense. The only question is if the still inexperienced Bob Babich makes the correct adjustments this year instead of allowing opposing offenses dictate his approach. However, a healthy defense will warrant more complicated and diverse schemes.

NOT SO FAST.... THE BUSINESS OF INKING THE " WINDY CITY FLYER " TO A NEW DEAL IS STILL AT HAND!!!

Its good to see the most important player on the Bears defense is happy. Now the entire best linebacking unit in the league are all happy, and can get back to playing Bear football.
Hopefully this time tomorrow rookie tackle Chris Williams will have a deal done. Its very important that the Bears get Williams signed. Chris Williams needs to get in camp and learn his job. If the NFL had a rookie salary cap, this would not even be an issue. I don't mind seeing the Bears fish over money to a player like Urlacher, but to pay these rookies, who are unproven, is another story. But for now you got to go with the flow. I like Chris Williams, he is the exact player I wanted the Bears to draft. I say, take a fair deal big Chris, and get into camp, and actually earn it by showing us Bear fans why the Bears drafted you GO BEARS!!

Getting Williams done before camp starts is imperative. If he is as good as they are hoping, he needs to be in camp from practice one getting comfortable with his line-mates, and getting used to working with Olin and Metcalf on his side of the line.

Hester would be wise to wait out this year and see how things go. If he improves as a WR, he gets WR money. He would be a fool to take KR money, even though he would set a new standard at that position as far as worth to a team. If he manages to get 40-50 catches, averages 16-17 yards per reception, and racks up 5-7 TDs, he is in line for #2 WR money (at least as far as his agent would be concerned) and that would be as good or better than any second receiver we have put on the field in a while.

All that being said, I think the front office ought to get a little credit for handling Urlacher, Briggs, and Harris in the same offseason. You get Hester done next offseason, and the winner of the QB battle this year, and you are well on your way to stabilizing the core of this team/ granted, a new QB is a must, but you at least keep the vet who leads the team this year beyond 2008.

Fantastic news on Urlacher. the pieces of the puzzle are fitting together.

To Rocco,

You cannot be serious with the comment "Let's forget about the offense for a second..."

FORGET ABOUT THE OFFENSE!!! Who are you, Jerry Angelo???

Forgetting about the offense is the reason why the Bears are a completely one dimensional team (D/ST). And why no one is afraid to play the Bears. It's the reason why Bears fans feel more comfortable when the defense is on the field as opposed to the offense...because the defense has a better chance of scoring.

Forget about the offense!?!?...there is a probably a position open for you in the Bears front office.

To Bob D.


"Forgetting about the offense is the reason why the Bears are a completely one dimensional team (D/ST)."

That would make us 2 dimensional, and I don't think those 2 dimensions are all that bad. Urlacher, Harris, and Briggs are back to bring the pain and if Hester hasn't hit his prime, then we can expect at least 8 on special teams and another 6-8 at WR. Touchdowns that is....

How many times have you heard "Defense wins championships?" Not for nothing, but on opening day, our "one" dimensional team doesn't look too bad.

We don't have a slug at RB in Benson, we have a competition at QB, and our WR's could be a lot worse than Berrian's payday. (Side note: Berrian is overrated and is overpaid...see Peerless Price in Atlanta).

Two years ago we spoke of the same uncertainty. Super Bowl bound we were...

Let's do this....


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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on July 21, 2008 4:50 PM.

Staying on the field critical to WR Bradley was the previous entry in this blog.

Dollars and sense: The Urlacher extension is the next entry in this blog.

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