The Bears apparently want Brian Urlacher back. The question is at what price?
Both parties moved a step closer to a resolution on the matter when Urlacher’s agent submitted a contract proposal to the Bears on Thursdaya league source confirmed.
The 34-year-old middle linebacker just finished the final year of his contract and made $7.5 million last season. He wants to play at least two more seasons and likely wants a new deal in the $5 million-per-year range on par with recent contracts earned by veteran linebackers Ray Lewis (since retired) and London Fletcher.
If a deal is not reached, Urlacher becomes a free agent at 3 p.m. Tuesday. His agents can negotiate with other teams starting at 11 p.m. Friday as part of a new three-day negotiating period.
General manager Phil Emery has said Urlacher would not be “slighted” in contract talks. Urlacher’s camp has viewed Emery as a “straight shooter” throughout the whole process.
Bears coach Marc Trestman has reached out to Urlacher and the new Bears defensive coaches have made it clear they want Urlacher in the mix. His reputation for being a coach on the field would come into play more than ever as new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker plans to keep the same system intact — with some tweaks expected, of course.
The proposal, first tweeted by WFLD-Ch. 32’s Lou Canellis, indicates Urlacher wants to remain with the Bears as he continues to work out daily in Arizona in preparation for next season. Urlacher believes his knee is fine now and he’s over the hamstring strain that prematurely ended his 2012 campaign. It has allowed him to condition his body this offseason rather than focus on rehabbing an injury.
The Bears stand about $3.55 million under the cap, meaning they will have to create more room to sign Urlacher and others.