Former Panther James Anderson is the headline signing. He penned a one-year deal on Sunday and is set to replace Nick Roach on the strong side. Meanwhile on Friday, D.J. Williams was picked up to fill the big shoes left by Urlacher in the center of the defense.
Still only 29, Anderson may be seen as something of a coup for the Bears. In 2011, the ex-Panther registered 145 tackles, placing him sixth in the NFL. He also set a Panthers record last season when he produced 20 tackles in a single game against the Giants. Carolina’s need to squeeze beneath the cap meant Anderson was forced to leave the Panthers earlier this month, and the linebacker believes the Bears could benefit from his best years. He told The Chicago Tribune:
“I am just reaching my peak right now. I am definitely still in my prime. This is the best I have felt at this point in the offseason in years. I feel like I am on my way up.”
The 235-pounder also believes his troubles with shoulder and back injuries are behind him:
“I had a chance to have some time off and all is well, all is healed up. I had some tightness and some other issues with the lower back, but it was nothing that is going to be an issue going forward. I feel great.”
Anderson added he was aware of the expectations that will come with replacing Urlacher:
“Any time you come into a situation where a guy of [Urlacher’s] stature leaves, he’s been one of the best there has been, coming in you just have give it all you’ve got and be the best linebacker you can be. They have a real tradition of having a great defense and I am looking forward to being a part of that.”
Thirty-one-year-old Williams also signed a one-year contract. What do you make of the Bears’ two newest acquisitions?