Hayes came into the league in 2008 with the Bucs as a sixth-round pick out of Florida State.
He played in 56 games, making 42 starts in four seasons in Tampa Bay. He racked up 334 tackles, 7.0 sacks, four interceptions and four forced fumbles during that time.
The soon to be 25-year-old linebacker made 64 tackles, one interception and two forced fumbles last season.
He was brought to Halas Hall yesterday along with Rocky McIntosh, Zac Diles, Bryan Kehl and Gerris Wilkinson for a workout.
The Bears chose to go with Hayes because he has spent all of his NFL career playing in the Cover-2 defensive scheme.
Hayes will likely backup Lance Briggs on the weak-side, but could get an opportunity to compete for the strong-side job with Nick Roach.
With Urlacher, Briggs and Roach the likely starters heading into the season the Bears have more experience on the bench with Hayes.
Besides Hayes, the Bears have Dom DeCicco, Blake Costanzo, Patrick Trahan, Jabara Williams and J.T. Thomas under contract.
Costanzo and DeCicco are very valuable players on special teams. DeCicco has a chance to be the heir middle linebacker to Brian Urlacher. Thomas was a sixth-round pick a year ago, but was placed on IR during the pre-season.
Who the Bears will keep for depth at linebacker will be interesting.
The signing of Hayes only improves the unit, but the draft could be where the Bears strength the depth at linebacker, specifically behind Brian Urlacher.
GM Phil Emery made sure he added some more experience at linebacker before next Thursday’s NFL Draft.
Defense will be the likely focus of the draft in the early rounds for the Bears.
The Bears waived WR Max Komar due to a lingering injury that was getting worse this off-season.