[Editor's note: FanPost promoted to the front page]
Its been a busy off-season. The Brandon Marshall trade, the free agent pickups of knowns (Campbell, Bush) and lesser knowns (Weems, Thomas) to build out our veteran depth. A draft that is slowly growing on me even if I still have some questions on most of the picks as well as the extension of Lance Briggs...but there is still unfinished business, and it might be time to address it.
That's right, Brian Urlacher needs his new contract. Surprised its not another "Pay da man" vs. "sign the tag fool" argument? We've beat that to death, and it is what it is until it's something else. The thing that might be more helpful for the team for a number of reasons, however, is Urlacher's status.
We all know he isn't done, but the organization is probably waiting for "tape" proof that he has recovered from his knee injury before investing millions into this star player, and that is fair. They also probably want to get a feel for how the season is going, because fair or not, the organization's perspective on Brian Urlacher may change if they feel a parting of the ways coming with Smith and the Cover 2. That is also fair.
Despite those two fair points, I think its time to extend Urlacher for a few different reasons. He has value even if your system changes, so you don't have to worry about him being obsolete; he is an amazing athlete. Medical opinions and all comments by the team and the player indicate he is in fact healthy. We are starting to get close to being up against the cap and he is set to earn a base salary of $7.5 million in 2012 with a cap hit of $9.7 million. It is likely an extension for him would reduce his cap hit. He has not campaigned for the deal, therefore making it easy from a PR perspective to "reward" him. From his own mouth, Urlacher has handed the Bears all of the leverage, indicating that he might retire rather than leave the Bears, saying he wants to finish his career with the Bears and even indicated his willingness to take a smaller contract with this qoute:
‘‘Even when I was being a little baby and I wanted a contract extension, they gave it to me,’’
Urlacher said, referring to his last contract. ‘‘They’ve always taken care of me. But I think it goes both ways.’’
It may need to wait until the beginning of the season to confirm his health and availability, but I for one am on the "Sign Urlacher" bandwagon.