Bears Sign Linebackers D.J. Williams, James Anderson

Justin Edmonds

The Packers' oldest rival now appears to have their starting linebacking corps solidified in advance of this year's NFL draft thanks to two free agent signings.

This weekend the Chicago Bears made two under-the-radar moves to solidify their defense. The Bears have already lost linebackers Nick Roach and Geno Hayes to free agency and are not expected to bring Brian Urlacher back, meaning that their only returning starter is weak-side linebacker Lance Briggs.

To man the open middle linebacker position, the Bears signed D.J. Williams (no, not the Packers' tight end), who was released by the Denver Broncos before the start of free agency. Williams has played many positions in both 4-3 and 3-4 defenses, and his versatility will be useful for the Bears as they move forward out of the Tampa 2 defense. Williams received a one-year contract worth less than a million dollars, though it has escalators that could make it worth nearly two million. Williams earned positive reviews from Pro Football Focus last season, though he played a very limited number of snaps on defense and was on the field for only seven games.

Likely filling the empty strong side linebacker spot will be James Anderson, formerly a member of the Carolina Panthers. He also received a one-year deal, and has fallen far from signing a 5-year $22 million deal before the 2011 season. The Panthers cut him to save cap space, despite him being their primary starter each of the past three years.

Check Windy City Gridiron for all the news on the Green Bay Packers' division rival.

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