COMMENTARY | I know that a lot of Chicago Bears fans have probably raised their pitchforks and torches high after reading the title to this piece, but hear me out.
ESPN, The Chicago Tribune and others are reporting that Brian Urlacher is drawing interest from the Vikings. Michael Silver of Yahoo! reported yesterday that the Bears have no urgency when it comes to Urlacher and that the Cowboys have some interest.
In my mind, the only bad thing about this is that he could be playing for a divisional rival. Maybe he is making that trip to force the Bears into potentially giving him a more competitive offer. If that is the case, that tactic doesn't seem to be working. The new coaching staff and Phil Emery have been noncommittal at best when it comes to arguably the biggest star on their football team.
Brian Urlacher isn't the same guy that he was five years ago, and everyone in the Bears front office knows it.
Let's start with the obvious: Brian Urlacher is a 34-year-old middle linebacker. His birthday is in May, meaning that he will be 35 when the season starts. His knee injury from the beginning of last year affected him greatly. Anyone who knows even a small amount about football could see that his lateral quickness wasn't there and he was missing tackles that even 30-year-old Brian Urlacher would have dead to rights.
It would be nice if Brian retired as a Bear, but that doesn't happen often in the modern NFL. The Bears are tight against the cap, with only a few million to spare. Keep in mind that Jay Cutler is a free agent at the end of this season and if he has a successful season he is going to soak up a fair amount of payroll.
The current cap situation obviously does not reflect any rookie signings that the team may make. Yes, the Bears did just release the epic disappointment that is Kellen Davis, giving them a little room. However, today they have signed defensive tackle Nate Collins to a one year contract.
This situation eerily parallels that of the Packers, who have a big name star in Greg Jennings who has drawn interest from the Vikings. Would the Packers like to keep him? Absolutely. Is he worth the money? That is more questionable.
The Bears have to ask themselves the same questions when it comes to Urlacher. The man is beloved in Chicago, but the NFL is a business. Unless the Bears can get him for a good price, it is time to say goodbye to Brian Urlacher.
Tyler Emken is a journalist and midwestern sports enthusiast out of Central Illinois.