Monday, July 21, 2008 Updated: July 22, 9:52 AM ET
Sources: Urlacher to get raise with revised contract
By Michael Smith ESPN.com
The face of the Bears can smile now, because Chicago is about to make Brian Urlacher one happy middle linebacker.
According to sources, Urlacher and the Bears have come to terms on a revised contract, which includes a one-year extension, thus ending their offseason contract squabble.
Urlacher, 30, had four years and approximately $25.5 million remaining on his contract. Under the terms of the upgraded deal, Urlacher will receive a $6 million signing bonus along with a $1 million bump in salary each of the next four years. The sides also have agreed to extend the pact into 2012, at a salary of $7.5 million. Urlacher can earn an additional $500,000 in a workout bonus in 2012.
That's a total of roughly $43.5 million over the next five years, with $18 million in new money for the six-time Pro Bowler and four-time All Pro.
The Bears arrive at training camp in Bourbonnais, Ill., on Tuesday, when Urlacher is expected to sign the new contract. Urlacher's status had been a hot topic throughout the offseason. He believed he had outperformed the nine-year contract he signed in 2003. He missed some voluntary workouts but did not miss any mandatory team activities while agents Pat Dye Jr. and Bill Johnson negotiated with the Bears.
Urlacher may not have landed the megadeal he had in mind, but his new contract's average approaches the $9 million-per-year range, placing him among the league's highest-paid defensive players. With Urlacher under contract for four more years, the Bears weren't obliged to redo his deal and he understood their position. But the Bears clearly understood what he means to the franchise, and the sides were able to come to a compromise on the eve of camp.
Urlacher is coming off a 2007 season in which, despite back and neck pain that required minor offseason surgery, he started all 16 games for the third consecutive season and sixth time in eight NFL seasons.
Michael Smith covers the NFL for ESPN.