The Bears have their potential successor to Brian Urlacher.
A league source said the Bears have signed former Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams to a one-year deal two days after cutting off talks with Urlacher.
Williams, 30, was cut by the Broncos after a season in which he faced two suspensions, a six game suspension for violating the league’s performance enhancing policy, and a three game suspension for his second arrest for driving under the influence.
He is a productive player with speed who had the second most tackles in the NFL in 2007. Scouts considered him one of the best linebacker talents on the market. He was a first round pick in 2004.
The contract Williams signed gives the Bears protection should Williams not stay on track. His base salary is $900,000, and none of his contract is guaranteed. He can earn a maximum of $1.75 million if he hits a workout bonus and a series of roster bonuses spread out over time.
The deal also represents an opportunity for the 6-1, 242 pound Williams to get his career headed back in the right direction with a talented group of defensive players.
Williams, who has played outside linebacker as well, was scheduled to make $6 million from the Broncos. That explains why he was released.
His acquisition gives the Bears flexibility in the draft. They no longer need to draft a middle linebacker with the 20th pick, though the linebacker position remains a priority.
Chicago Bears sign linebacker D.J. Williams
Chicago Tribune | Mar 22