No early resolution in sight for Brian Urlacher
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org March 13, 2013 11:17PM
Brian Urlacher, Joe Hawley
Bears general manager Phil Emery said Wednesday that talks are ongoing with some of their unrestricted free agents — notably linebacker Brian Urlacher — but admitted that his team is “tight against the [salary] cap.”
What that means for Urlacher is unknown. The Bears have approached Urlacher about returning for his 14th season, but there haven’t really been any concrete developments since Urlacher’s representatives sent contract parameters to the Bears last week.
One popular theory is that the Bears are waiting for the free-agent market to set Urlacher’s value before they respond and a potential deal can be worked out.
Coach Marc Trestman has liked what he has seen on film from Urlacher, who turns 35 in May.
“I think that Brian is a very, very capable player,” Trestman said. “I’m excited about him being part of this football team, if that happens, certainly.”
Trestman has had a number of discussions with Urlacher.
“We’re very respectful of his position, obviously, as it relates to this team and to the community,” Trestman said. “We know that.”
Would Trestman like Urlacher’s situation resolved soon?
“Those things just happen in the course of time,” he said. “I trust that the parties involved in the resolution process are doing their best to try to get it done for Brian. As far as that goes, I don’t know what the timetable is [as to] when that happens.”
Emery said adding left tackle Jermon Bushrod and tight end Martellus Bennett will “open up the draft” for the Bears to “also add to [their] weapons.”
The Bears have the 20th pick and are open to trading down for more selections. They don’t have a third-rounder because of last year’s trade for receiver Brandon Marshall.
“[Signing them is] going to give us so much flexibility,” Emery said. “To put it bluntly, we’re open for business. If teams want to approach us about trading back, we’re all ears. We’re not going to pass up on a really good player at 20 that we feel will have an immediate impact on winning right now. But certainly the draft has strengths, and if we have the opportunity to pull back so that we can collect picks, we’re very open to that.”
Other players the Bears saw become UFAs this week are beginning to meet with other teams.
Sources said linebacker Nick Roach is in Oakland meeting with the Raiders, and guard Lance Louis has a meeting with an undisclosed team.
Trestman indicated that Louis and right tackle Jonathan Scott (also a UFA) would be in the mix for starting positions if they returned to the Bears.
Linebacker Geno Hayes, a backup last year for the Bears, signed a two-year deal with the Jaguars.
Contributing: Sean Jensen