Brian Urlacher Gives Chicago Bears More Bang for Their Buck

Jerry Burnes@@JerryBurnesAnalyst IJuly 21, 2008

The Chicago Bears will start training camp this week with a happy middle linebacker.

The Bears have reportedly given star linebacker Brian Urlacher a contract extension on his already existing four-year, $25 million contract.

Urlacher's new deal, according to ESPN, will extend him into 2012, and he will make $7.5 million for that year. He also has the option to make $500,000 through a workout bonus in 2012.

Also included in the deal is a $6 million signing bonus and a $1 million raise in each of the next four seasons.

The deal has him making close to $9 million per year and places him as one of the highest paid defenders in the league.

Urlacher and the Bears have been at odds over his contract all offseason. Since he had four years left, the Bears were not obligated to take a second look at his contract.

Chicago's star defenseman missed some voluntary team workouts but no mandatory meetings during the squabble.

Urlacher is without a doubt the centerpiece of the Bears' defense that re-signed fellow defensive stars Lance Briggs and Tommie Harris this summer.

In 2007, Urlacher recorded 123 tackles, with five sacks, five interceptions, and one defensive touchdown, despite lingering back and neck injuries.

He started all 16 games in the season.