D.J. Williams has had some issues off the field, but he could definitely be the steal of this year's free agency.
The city of Chicago and its beloved Bears have lost one of their favorite sons, Brian Urlacher. Urlacher's age and health have become a concern for the storied franchise, which cut ties with the big-name 'backer last week when it was unable to reach a free agent deal with the superstar.
While Bears fans won't forget their playmaking tackler anytime soon, the addition of Williams will definitely dull the pain.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Williams' new one-year deal is worth around $900,000, with up to $850,000 of incentives.
Do you like the Bears' signing of D.J. Williams?
Williams has a lot of similarities to Urlacher on the field. He's forced 13 fumbles in his career (one more than Urlacher), which makes him a great fit in a Chicago Bears defense that thrives on forcing turnovers. He's had four seasons with over 100 tackles and would most likely have a lot more if he didn't miss miss games in the 2008, 2011 and 2012 seasons.
That is where his similarities to Urlacher stop.
Williams has had a lot of extracurricular issues, including a rough 2012 campaign that was cut to just seven games after the vet had two suspensions. One suspension for nine games came after Williams violated the NFL's policy on PEDs, and another three-game suspension came from a conviction for driving while impaired.
Being signed by Chicago may be exactly what Williams needs. If he can keep himself on the field and stay out of trouble, this could be a great opportunity for him to have a big impact on a great team and extend his one-year deal into a career revival.
While his 2012 campaign certainly wasn't impressive, Bears fans shouldn't let it tarnish their view of Williams as a player. Williams hasn't always been a middle linebacker, but he had his best season at the position and even led the AFC in combined tackles in one season.
Williams won't be the next Urlacher, but he'll be a perfect fit as a temporary replacement who can make some big plays and rack up triple-digit tackles in the NFC North while the Bears search for their next Brian Urlacher.