Originally written on Midway Illustrated  |  Last updated 11/20/14
Chicago_bears_v_2b89

The Bears today announced the signing of weak-side linebacker Geno Hayes formerly of the Tampa Bay Bucs.  Hayes a four year veteran of the NFL has racked up a pretty decent resume in his time in Tampa and could wind up competing with Nick Roach for the starting strong side linebacker spot.

From the Chicago Bears' official release:

Hayes has started 42 of 56 games played at weakside linebacker for Tampa Bay over four seasons (2008-11) after being selected by the Bucs in the sixth round (175th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft. The 6-1, 226-pound linebacker out of Florida State has collected 334 tackles (231 solo), 36 tackles for losses, seven sacks, four interceptions – including one returned for a touchdown, 16 pass break ups, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in his NFL career. He has added nine special teams stops and a blocked punt which he returned for a touchdown.

Hayes has 29.5 stuffs - a tackle of a rusher for negative yards – according to STATS, second most in the NFL since entering the league in 2008. He led the league with 11 stuffs in 2009 and finished tied for second with 11.5 in 2010.

In 2011, Hayes started 13 of 16 games played, finishing third on the team with 86 tackles and seven tackles for losses, adding one interception and two forced fumbles.

Hayes' arrival in Chicago brings instant legitimate depth to the Bears' linebackers.  His play has been at a level that represents a solid level contribution to the Bucs defense.  Hayes' familiarity with the Bears' defense means he should be a plug and play type of player who comes in and competes immediately.

This signing also makes the Bears' draft plans all the more apparent.  The desire to find a pass rushing DE opposite Julius Peppers still exists as does a need for another defensive tackle.  As reported earlier the Bears have been high on both DT Michael Brockers and DE Whitney Mercilus and will likely target them at the 19th overall selection.

The one thing to keep an eye on is by filling out the roster with veterans who already fit the system and are looking to jump start their careers the Bears are addressing needs that were once thought to be draft needs.  The key thing now is watching the Matt Forte situation and realizing that the Bears could potentially look to trade up in the draft.

Free agency signings have filled draft needs which could meaning using draft picks to trade up in the draft to target a specific player.  Is that player DT Fletcher Cox; perhaps if Matt Khalil starts to fall in the draft the Bears consider moving up to take a franchise LT?

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Shaka Smart in discussions with Texas

Report: Rick Barnes expected to land at Tennessee

Demaryius Thomas planning to skip Broncos' workouts

Rockets GM: We think we can win NBA title despite injuries

Browns GM Ray Farmer suspended over text messages

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Aaron Hernandez's fiancee disposed of box after murder

Byron Scott: Opposing players say they want to play for Lakers

Falcons reportedly will lose pick over pumping in crowd noise

Report: Sam Bradford wouldn't sign extension with Browns

Jimbo Fisher: Winston is victim of ‘character assassination’

Russell Wilson on contract: 'It's going to work out'

PHOTO: Minor league team to wear Jabba the Hutt jerseys

Lions LB DeAndre Levy takes ride on top of a moving plane

Colts owner addresses Indiana religious freedom bill

John Calipari addresses controversial ND comments

Arizona coach Sean Miller rips critics: 'Go cheer for ASU'

Report: NFL could push extra point back to 15-yard line

Urban Meyer: 'No issue' with Braxton Miller's Instagram post

Tiger Woods drops out of top 100 for first time in 19 years

Top 10 stories from NCAA Tourney's second weekend

The MLBPA has a problem

Final Four preview: How can every team win?

WrestleMania 31 results: Rollins cashes in, Rousey appears

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Shaka Smart talking to Texas

Rick Barnes to land at Tennessee?

Browns GM suspended for texts

Hernandez's fiancee disposed of box

Mayweather-Pacquiao: It's sparring tall-tale season

The MLBPA has a problem

Final Four preview: Can every team win?

Full WrestleMania 31 recap and results

Why Texas had to fire Rick Barnes

Craig Sager's leukemia has returned

Report: Chris Mullin to take St. John's job

Report: NFL looking into more cameras

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.