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

Report: NFL upholds Vontaze Burfict’s three-game suspension

NFL owners reportedly concerned with Raiders-gang connections in LA

T'Wolves getting calls about Rubio ahead of trade deadline

Jarryd Hayne wants to return to NFL

Jones: I ‘scream in my pillow’ being at Super Bowl, not in it

Phil Jackson reportedly does not have opt-out until 2017

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Byron Scott: D’Angelo Russell’s immaturity ‘at times’ a problem

Kevin Love: Shoulder injury ‘just a stinger’

Nets’ Joe Johnson would ‘welcome’ a trade

Report: Grizzlies want Kevin Durant in free agency

WATCH: Karl-Anthony Towns throws down monster dunk

Dos Anjos: McGregor will 'break like a girl' at UFC 196

Eight most potentially combustible MLB clubhouses

Matt Barnes coyly denies IG post was shot at Derek Fisher

NHLers who should be dealt to contenders before deadline

Robert Kraft compares Tom Brady to Peyton, Eli Manning

WATCH: Markieff Morris appears to flip the bird to heckler

Prediction for each NBA award heading into the All-Star Break

Did Clippers reenact Paul Pierce stabbing during pregame intros?

Kobe Bryant gives LeBron James his game-worn Kobe 11s

Terrell Owens tells Skip Bayless to stop ‘misinforming’ people

8-year-old Panthers fan writes adorable letter to Cam Newton

Donovan McNabb: I did not throw up during Super Bowl loss

Seven teams that must target a quarterback in 2016 NFL draft

Fighter says sex before fight partly to blame for loss

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

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

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