Free agency is a tricky beast in the NFL. The Chicago Bears know this well. While fans hope the team does the right thing and brings back Brian Urlacher, if they lose him could they find his replacement in James Laurinaitis?
Urlacher feels 2012 NFL season is his best chance at a championship
Few players feel the clock ticking as loud as Brian Urlacher. The perennial Pro Bowl defender has given Chicago what many think is a Hall of Fame career. So it's almost fitting that just when his time seemed short the Bears pulled their wagons together and finally built a team balanced with talent. The middle linebacker has played on some good teams but he feels that the 2012 unit with players like Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte on offense gives the Windy City the best football team he has played on in his 12-year career. That's saying something since he played on a team that made it to the Super Bowl six years ago. In any other division Chicago would stand as clear favorites but with the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions in their way the coming season will likely be a year-long dog fight. The worst part for Chicago Bears fans isn't the ride but what to expect when the season ends. Urlacher is in the last year of his current contract and has already said he wouldn't mind testing his value in free agency. That means the team brass must plan to make him a priority on a new deal. Otherwise they may have to scramble for a replacement.
Laurinaitis and Chris Long create money problems for St. Louis Rams
One player that's easily the top inside linebacker expected to hit free agency next season is James Laurinaitis of the St. Louis Rams. Together with defensive end Chris Long they were among the few bright spots for a team ravaged by injury and poor play. If they have another great season under new head coach Jeff Fisher, then the team has a big problem. The Rams are already in the bottom half of the league in available salary cap space. That means they can't spend their money wildly. Given how much help their offense still needs, they might have to sacrifice Laurinaitis for the greater good. That means a team like Chicago could make a run at him with big money a man like Urlacher made. NFL business is never that easy but stranger things have happened. If it does, the Rams can only hope young players like Janoris Jenkins or Robert Quinn make the loss minimal.
Brian Urlacher said he wants to stay with the Chicago Bears and the team wants the same thing. However if he were to leave for a new NFL home, then going after James Laurinaitis while the St. Louis Rams tackle Chris Long isn't the worst idea.