Originally posted on Midway Illustrated  |  Last updated 4/19/12

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

WATCH: Dwight Howard ejected for hanging on rim

NHL rumors: Capitals acquire Blues’ Kevin Shattenkirk in bold trade

Report: Chiefs making ‘strong push’ to make Eric Berry highest-paid safety in NFL

Dana White hints at Conor McGregor's next opponent

Report: Steelers make Brown NFL's highest-paid WR

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Chiefs sign Duvernay-Tardif to five-year extension

MLB considering introducing 'stickier' baseballs

Report: Browns have discussed trading No. 12 pick for Garoppolo

Report: Lowry expected to miss 4-5 weeks, return for playoffs

Report: Cowboys to release Romo in coming weeks

Report: Jennings expected to sign with Hornets

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in Major League Baseball

The best sports movies available to stream right now

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

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

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in MLB

The best sports movies available to stream right now

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 20 or more games in a season since 2000

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker