The Chicago Bears announced yesterday that they are parting ways with Brian Urlacher, middle linebacker stalwart and balding man that pretty much has embodied everything about Chicago football for the last 13 years. 13 years! That number is bigger than the reading level age comparison of most of our readers! And this site's writer, too.
Point being, Brian Urlacher, a middle linebacker with some cache behind him, is on the free agent market. Your Minnesota Vikings, semi-active players in the free agency market, are in dire need of a middle linebacker for their team. Brian Urlacher, Minnesota Vikings, Brian Urlacher, Minnesota Vikings ... See where this is going? Have you choked yourself to death yet?
However unlikely this scenario seems, it's worth a discussion, even if that discussion is filled with outrage and hate towards former Chicago Bears (LOOKING AT YOU, BERRIAN). Urlacher was apparently looking for a two year contract for around $11.5 Million. The Bears (smarter than the average bear, here) stood pretty solid on an offer of one year, up to $3 Million earned. Brian got upset, probably called them a *****, and then the team was like, "LOL, OK swaggy bro, see you later" and released a statement that said they were done trying to negotiate. BALLSY MOVE.
So that leaves Urlacher on the market, and god dammit, the Vikings seem like a likely scenario. Now, I agree with Kevin Seifert at the ESPN NFC North blog that this doesn't SEEM like a Rick Spielman type of move. Spielman's MO over the past several years has clearly been trying to get younger through the draft and using the money you have to re-sign your own players. BUT. Rick has also shown the fortitude to know when he has to reach out and cover his ass, namely, when he does something like leave a position totally devoid of talent (Hi, receivers!) and then is forced into supplementing the position through free agency.
Urlacher, for the right price, could fall into that category too. Sure, he's old, slow, injured, probably has more STDs than Minnesota State - Mankato, but that just means he'd fit right in! At least during training camp. And the whole scenario here is playing out WAY too obviously. The Vikings have exactly NO ONE who could play the middle linebacker position in Leslie Frazier's Cover-2 scheme competently right now. Maybe Audie Cole eventually, but he's seemed more like and outside linebacker, and the coaches were obviously hesitant to have him play AT ALL last year, let alone start a game. Now you think they're just going to throw him into the position? I don't think so.
It's obvious what's going to happen here, and it kills me to say this because it sounds awful. But here's my ******* prediction. The Vikings are going to sign Urlacher for two years, however much millions of dollars. They are going to draft Manti T'eo (OHGODNO) with one of their first round picks (WR with the other) and let him learn from the vet for a year. They'll cut Urlacher next year, let T'eo take over, and the rest of the NFC North will continue to make fun of us for taking their leftover scraps and referencing fake girlfriends.
How excited does that get you? Hopefully not at all.