More likely than not Brian Urlacher and Nick Roach will be re-signed. Roach seems more likely to be back at this point than the 34-year old Urlacher, but both could be donning a Chicago Bears uniform come the 2013 season.
ESPNChicago.com reported that the Bears want to bring Roach back and have interest in talking with Urlacher on a new contract.
Even if the Bears opt to bring back these two veterans they must look to add more depth at the position.
32-year old Lance Briggs is under contract for next season. The only legitimate backup a year ago was 25-year old Geno Hayes, who added just 16 tackles and is a free agent this off-season.
Other depth currently on the team is Blake Costanzo, J.T Thomas, Patrick Trahan and Jerry Franklin, who have all played mainly on special teams in the NFL.
The Bears could choose to bring back all three of their free agents at the linebacker position including Geno Hayes, who did a solid job in his few opportunities.
Briggs and Urlacher aren’t getting any younger and the Bears have to make sure they have proper replacements in place. Roach can play all three linebacker positions. Hayes can fill in when needed. But that’s simply not enough depth considering the health of the position.
The draft could be where the Bears look for a linebacker, possibly a legitimate replacement for Brian Urlacher or just a guy for depth purposes.
Some names to look at in the draft at linebacker are:
Corey Lemonier, OLB, Auburn- (6’3″, 255 lbs). 34 tackles, 5.5 sacks, one forced fumble as he battled through a serious ankle injury. Looks to be selected either in the second or third round.
Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Mississippi-(6’3″, 250 lbs). 92 tackles, 10 sacks and four forced fumbles as a senior. He has a chance to be a steal in the third or fourth round of the draft, if he falls that far.
Sio Moore, OLB, Conneticut- (6’1″, 245 lbs). 72 tackles and eight sacks as a senior. He could be a nice pickup in the middle of the draft.
Don’t expect the Bears to select a linebacker in the first round unless Jarvis Jones from Georgia falls to the 20th spot.
Either way the Bears must add more depth at the linebacker position whether its through free agency or the draft.
GM Phil Emery and Co. have many key decisions to make this off-season, but re-signing Urlacher and Roach and adding a couple future pieces at the linebacker position is vital at this point.
It will be interesting to see what the Bears decide to do at the linebacker position.
Free agency begins next Tuesday, March 12 at 4 p.m. ET.