2013 NFL Free Agency – Chicago Bears Replace Urlacher With D.J. Williams

It didn’t take the Chicago Bears very long to get over the departure of Brian Urlacher, filling the hole at middle linebacker with a younger and probably more versatile version (but not necessarily better), signing D.J. Williams who played his entire career for the Denver Broncos.

Williams, 30, is one of only three players (along with Urlacher) to record 600 tackles, 40 stuffs and 20 sacks from 2004-11. Karlos Dansby is the third player. But Williams, never a pro bowl caliber player like Urlacher, hardly played last season, also due to two suspensions, featuring in only 7 games for the Broncos, recording only 14 tackles after averaging 5 sacks a season in the previous two.

Williams signed a one-year deal worth $900,000 in base salary, but if he reaches all of his incentives, he’ll be able to make a maximum of $1.75 million, which is still cheaper than what the Bears offered Urlacher in a take-it-or-leave-it kind of way, with $2 million for one season only on the team. Urlacher, who initially asked for a two year contract and $11.5 million was willing to go down and get $3-3.5 million for one season, but saw the Bears weren’t budging from their original stance, pretty much telling him to find another team.

He was suspended the first six games of the 2012 season for violating the league’s banned-substances policy after the league said he supplied a “non-human” urine sample during a drug test. He got an additional three game suspension after a jury convicted him of driving while impaired. That incident was the second time Williams had been arrested under the suspicion of driving while impaired. The Broncos released Williams, who was due to make $6 million next season if kept on the roster.

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