Found July 26, 2012 on 60 Max Power O:
TEAMS: Chicago Bears

As we commented earlier today, Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher is in a contract year which means if he doesn't get things sorted out with the Bears before the end of the season, he'll be an unrestricted free agent. Urlacher has said time and time again that he's not even uttering the word contract during the season.

So that means the only people who can make this a big deal is the media. And boy are some getting an early start.

Bears kicker Robbie Gould was asked on ESPN 1000 last night what he thought about the Bears allowing Urlacher to test free agency before offering him a contract.

Gould had this to say:

"I think that's a big, big risk to take personally. When you have a guy like Brian, who first of all is the face of the organization … our best leader in our locker room and still playing at a high level of football, I think it's very tough to roll the dice."

Robbie couldn't have better captured the sentiment of Bears fans better if they had said it themselves. Phil Emery spoke to the media on Monday but he also evaded questions about Urlacher's contract. He merely reiterated what Urlacher has been saying all along about focusing on the season at hand first, then the contract.

But don't be so sure that the Bears will lock up the guy who has been a fixture in Chicago for the past decade. Urlacher didn't sound very confident that he'd be offered a deal before he was released into free agent waters.

"I'll be a free agent when the season is over and whatever happens, happens. From everything that Ted Phillips said, I'll be a free agent when the season is over. It's a business. That's the risk you take. If you let a player get to free agency, then they can leave. That's their (decision). They can leave if they want to. That's how it goes."

It's sounding like things could get ugly between the Bears and Urlacher — and it wouldn't be the first time the Bears have had ugly contract negotiations with players.

Remember as recently as last season the Bear got in to a contractual scuffle with respected veteran Olin Kruetz who was cut and then signed by the Saints before "losing the passion for football" and retiring.

There's also the Bears messy business with linebacker Lance Briggs where the Pro Bowler asked for a raise which began a battle with management over his contract beginning in 2007. Briggs even went as far as to ask for a trade, but things finally settled and saw resolution this offseason with the Bears offering Briggs a one year extension this which he happily accepted.

But contracts will be a headache in the near future for the Bears. After this season, Chicago will have 25 rosters that are currently on the books expiring, among them include the contracts of wide receiver Johnny Knox, cornerback D.J. Moore, defensive tackle Israel Idonije and offensive tackle Chris Williams.

Gould echoes the sentiment that things could get ugly with Urlacher and company but we will have to painstakingly wait until after this season to get resolution on most of the contracts the Bears need to address.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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1 Comment:
  • I think the bears are 100% correct and should let urlacher test free agency. I would love for urlacher to remain a bear, but brian is 34 and let's see if he's able to stay healthy. I really believe guys like urlacher really lose their skill sets in the mid thirties.....but this is my opinion.

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