New York Giants

New York Giants: Big Blue a Favorite to Land Former Bears LB Brian Urlacher?

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 01:  Brian Urlacher #54 of the Chicago Bears at Cowboys Stadium on October 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Doug RushSenior Analyst IMarch 30, 2013

Last week, I floated the idea of Brian Urlacher for the New York Giants.

After it was announced that the Chicago Bears and Urlacher couldn't come to an agreement on a new deal, the rumors started. Dan Graziano of ESPN New York wrote that if Urlacher landed in the NFC East, the New York Giants would be the best landing spot for him:

Pondering NFC East Brian Urlacher fits es.pn/ZZrwul

— Dan Graziano (@espn_nfceast) March 22, 2013

That led to me writing about whether or not Urlacher made sense for the Giants in 2013 considering they had just signed former Cowboys and Panthers linebacker Dan Connor.

Does Brian Urlacher fit into the #Giants plans for 2013? bleacherreport.com/articles/15780…

— Doug Rush (@Doug_Rush) March 23, 2013

At first, I thought the Urlacher-to-the-Giants rumors might just die off with less than a month until the NFL draft. But two things I noticed recently sparked them again.

The first was fellow B/R Featured Columnist Ben Chodos writing about the best landing spots for Urlacher. The Giants were one of the three teams listed.

Chodos cites that being on a Super Bowl contender would interest Urlacher as a potential landing spot for 2013, which is why the Giants would make sense:

At this point in his career, Urlacher will surely want to go to a team that has a legitimate chance to win a Super Bowl, and joining forces with a quarterback who has multiple rings would be a wise move.

In addition to Eli Manning, the Giants have talent on defense, but a hole at middle linebacker. Chase Blackburn has delivered some gutsy performances for the team over the years, but an upgrade is needed. 

While Urlacher, like Blackburn, is not a long-term option, he would be an ideal linebacker to fill the role for a year or two while New York develops a young player to fill in once he retires.

Ultimately, Urlacher seems thoroughly displeased with the whole situation regarding free agency and his break up with the Bears. He will have a chip on his shoulder next season, and the Giants are one of several teams that should consider giving him a chance to prove his former employers wrong.

The other was Paul Schwartz of the New York Post tweeting that Bovada had the Giants listed at 5/2 odds to land Urlacher:

According to Bovada, the Baltimore Ravens are listed as the favorites to land him at 9/4 odds. The Cincinnati Bengals are listed at 7/2 odds, followed by the Denver Broncos at 4/1 odds.

The one reason I don't see the Ravens landing Urlacher is Ozzie Newsome's approach of scrapping most of the defense and looking to the draft to bring in new talent. And that's usually how Giants GM Jerry Reese approaches it as well.

But let's look at the other side and why Urlacher keeps coming up for the Giants.

Urlacher, even at 34 years old, would still be a better option at the middle linebacker spot than Connor, who is best suited for a backup role.

Urlacher had a down season for the Bears in 2012. He had 68 tackles with two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception in just 12 games. But a fresh start could help him, as he has played his entire 13-year career in Chicago, and playing for a team like the Giants could rejuvenate that career.

One thing that could hold back any kind of deal would be money, as Urlacher felt the Bears' one-year, $2 million offer was insulting.

As of right now, the Giants have approximately $4.581 million in salary cap space for 2013, and they still have to try and extend Victor Cruz, plus sign their rookies after the draft.

So if Urlacher really wants to come to the Giants, he may have to take a severe pay cut—something he might need to do anyway if he wants to continue his career. The interest in him hasn't been overwhelming from teams, so he may have no choice but to drop his asking price and take a one-year deal.

On a one-year deal to serve as a mentor and a strong veteran presence, Urlacher would fit the Giants as the middle linebacker.

But the one question remains: Would the Giants be interested if Urlacher came calling?

Unless the asking price gets dropped, Reese will look to April's draft for linebacker depth, just like Newsome will be looking to do in Baltimore. However, if Urlacher is willing to take less money to play for a playoff contender and one last shot at a Super Bowl, then the Giants make sense as a landing spot.

Stay tuned, Giants fans.

 


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