After becoming a free agent for the first time in his career, the Chicago Bear great is still team-less.
Reports were bouncing back and forth, that the Minnesota Vikings and Brian Urlacher were close to a 2 year contract. According to head coach Leslie Frazier, those reports are completely false, at this point. Now when it comes to a hall of fame linebacker who could play at least another 2-3 years in this league, you can never really count yourselves out of signing him.
“Brian has been a great player in our league for a long, long time.” - Leslie Frazier on Urlacher
What the Minnesota Vikings are going to do, is take a look at what they have to work with, see how things go, then they could possibly entertain the thought of bringing in Brian Urlacher. They had one impressive draft, snagging 3 first round picks, none of them bring linebackers, but good picks none the less. In the final few rounds of the draft, the Minnesota Vikings picked up a pair of Penn State Nittany Lions, bring Gerald Hodges a 4th round pick and Michael Mauti a 7th round pick.
“He was a thorn in our side for many years. At this point we want to look at the guys on our roster, give them a chance to compete for the middle linebacker position then we’ll see where it takes us.” – Head Coach Leslie Frazier
Both rookie linebackers have recently signed contracts with the Minnesota Vikings. Gerald Hodges agreeing to a 4 year deal yesterday with the Vikings and his fellow Penn State teammate, Michael Mauti also agreeing to a deal.
“The Vikings told me I have a chance to really come in here and make an impact. I said whatever you guys need me to do, whatever you guys want me to do I’m ready to do it. I’m ready to be a Viking and I’m ready to get started.” - Gerald Hodges on being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings
Erin Henderson, a veteran who was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Minnesota Vikings in 2008, is adding some weight to his frame and making a transition to middle linebacker. With Henderson moving to the inside, it leaves a starting vacancy on the weak side. Next to Erin on the strong side, will be another Vikings veteran, Chad Greenway, leaving Hodges to compete with Audi Colie and Larry Dean for the starting position on the weak side.
So with the transition by Henderson to the inside, who is clearly younger than Brian Urlacher, it will be likely that he will be the man to show the Minnesota Vikings that this team does not need to add the longtime Chicago Bear to this roster. Right now it is hard to tell who could use Brian Urlacher, but in my opinion and I’m not saying this because I am a Chicago Bears fan and would hate to see him in Minnesota. But this team has a lot of young talent in that linebacker core, which should save them an extra $2-3 million from signing a 35 year old veteran.
Now that head coach Leslie Frazier made it clear that they were going to work with what they have, what does Urlacher do now? There were some reports that the Denver Broncos were in the hunt to sign Urlacher, but they quickly denied those reports. Should he have just taken the deal the Chicago Bears submitted to him before he countered it, eventually leading to them losing interest and wishing him the best of luck where ever he may sign?
At this point, I’m wondering if he wishes he could go back to a few months ago and accept that deal that would make him a Chicago Bear again. He would be in OTA’s along with the rest of the guys who are eligible, getting ready for another season. But instead, he sits and waits for a team to contact him, who desperately need his services. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, will a team call him? Or will the veteran decide to call it a career?