39-Year-Old Linebacker – Free Agent
2017 Fantasy Football Outlook
There was no outlook written for Brian Urlacher in 2017. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
2017 ADP: –
Brian Urlacher Contract Information:
Urlacher signed a one-year extension to his nine-year deal with the Bears in July of 2008, locking him up through the 2012 season. The extension includes a $6 million singing bonus and is worth $18 million.
Urlacher has announced his retirement from the NFL.
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Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
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A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
Brian Urlacher: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Brian Urlacher.
Urlacher suffered a torn MCL and PCL during Week 17 of the 2011 season, and in his age-34 season he’s not a lock to be at full strength by the time 2012 kicks off. Still, he’s worth drafting in most IDP leagues since he’ll be useful if he’s at least 80 percent or so for Week 1. He finished 2011 with 102 stops (84 solo) and three interceptions, and he remains among the league’s most active linebackers in coverage.
Heading into his age-33 season, Urlacher isn’t the player he used to be. But there’s generally reason for optimism with him, as 2010 was somewhat of a comeback campaign. A wrist injury limited him to just one game in 2009, and his 93-tackle, zero-sack season from 2008 was not impressive. So in that context, 125 tackles (96 solo), four sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles was a great turnaround for Urlacher last year. Health permitting, expect Urlacher to continue to be both a productive tackler and a standout pass rusher at linebacker.
Urlacher's best seasons may be behind him (he hasn't made the Pro Bowl since 2006), but the ten-year veteran is still the heart and soul of the Bears defense. Urlacher missed 15 games last season with a dislocated wrist, but he is expected to be fully healthy for the start of the 2010 season and will assume his role as the team's starting middle linebacker. Even on the downhill side of his career, Urlacher is still a serviceable IDP option and should record 100-plus tackles.
Urlacher remains a constant for the Bears, as he enters his 10th season with the team. He played in all 16 games for the eighth time in his career, but registered just 93 tackles, his lowest total for a full season. Neck and back injuries have undermined his production the past few seasons, but a new offense led by Jay Cutler and Matt Forte could keep the defense off the field and get them the rest they've lacked over the past few seasons. Urlacher is no longer an elite option at linebacker, but he's a sure source of tackles, and is usually good for an interception or two per season.
It's funny to think of Urlacher as an elder statesman, but he turned 30 in May and seems even older than that considering the ages of other elite linebackers. But there's something to be said for a track record, and Urlacher certainly has that. He compiled 123 tackles in 2007, his third straight season with 121 or more. Except for an injury-shortened 2004 campaign, Urlacher has 116 or more tackles in every season since he entered the league in 2000. After going without a sack in 2006, Urlacher notched five last season, in line with his previous usual production. He has eight interceptions the past two years, including a career-high five last season. Clearly, Urlacher still has a lot of versatility to offer.
For a while, Urlacher looked like he’d be the No. 1 IDP linebacker every year for the rest of his career. Well, maybe not, but on the field it's hard to find his equal. Urlacher is as big as a defensive end but just as fast as smaller linebackers. When a hole opens, that speed combines with amazing football instincts and vision to put him in it as soon as it appears. Still, the proof is in the pounding. Although he notched 141 total tackles last season, his most since 2002, Urlacher, as explosive as he is, doesn't usually tackle as much as the leading linebackers. He usually makes up for it with five or more sacks, but last year he inexplicably had no sacks whatsoever. He did set career highs in assists (49) and interceptions (3), however. One assumes those sacks will return this year, and that the expected loss of Lance Briggs means Urlacher will pick up a few more tackles. Keep in mind, though, that defensive tackle Tank Johnson likely will be suspended for most, if not all, of the year, and that Urlacher had a horrible year in 2003, the last time he didn't have adequate defensive line protection.
There’s an angle to Urlacher’s 2005 stats. The games-played line says 16 but it was essentially 15, because he took most of Week 17 off with an eye toward the playoffs. If he had played that last game at his per-game average, that’d be a top-5 season for Urlacher. Not that 11th among linebackers is bad, but it’s proper to note how truly elite he was. Urlacher is perhaps the game’s best sack artist at linebacker. He’s had four or more sacks every year but one (the one year he didn’t was an all-round down year due to lack of linemen support). He might not get as many sacks as a Joey Porter in a given year, and Terrell Suggs is properly a lineman, but Urlacher does it all from the middle of a 4-3 alignment, rather than as a rush specialist in a 3-4 system. This means he gets tackles in addition to the sacks, nearly 100 solos per season. Urlacher’s got the defensive tackles in front of him to shoo away blockers, and Lovie Smith’s speed-based scheme suits his talents perfectly. Because he tackles at a slightly lower rate than the other top linebackers, he’ll have empty games more often than his brethren. Also, he suffered through a litany of leg injuries in 2004, his first year in Smith’s system. We’re assuming his healthy 2005 means he’s got his base under him, but be aware there’s always the risk his leg issues crop up again. Between the bad 2003 and injury-riddled 2004, he’s had some up and down in his career, but he’s been hard to beat every other year.
Urlacher missed seven games to calf, knee and hamstring problems, but those nine games worth of stats project to 92 solo tackles, nine sacks and two interceptions. There’s no question what a healthy Urlacher can do in Lovie Smith’s defense, but it’s speed based, and it took its toll on Urlacher’s legs. With an offseason to work on his stems, we’re banking on a healthy sack machine in 2005. Excluding the down year in 2003 when the defensive line couldn’t keep blockers off of him, Urlacher has never had fewer than 4.5 sacks in a season and has at least one pick in every year but that 2003 campaign. So long as he’s playing, the numbers will be gaudy.
A funny thing happens when you lose defensive tackle Ted Washington and rushing linebacker Roosevelt Colvin and key players like tackle Keith Traylor and linebacker Warrick Holdman are hobbled. Urlacher gets blocked more. The Monster of the Midway dropped from 120 solo tackles, five sacks and an interception in 2002 to 87 tackles, no picks and just 2.5 sacks last year. That’s good enough for 30th among linebackers and legions of burnt owners. Chicago spent its first two 2004 draft picks on tackles Tommie Harris and Terry Johnson to eat up blocks, and new head coach Lovie Smith has instituted a speed defense along the lines of what he used in St. Louis. Urlacher has lost weight to gain speed and will now have young, healthy linebackers Joe Odom and Lance Briggs at his flanks. So while the Bears have lost Traylor and Holdman this offseason, we’re betting on turnaround for Mr. Urlacher. We can’t bump him back above the year-in, year-out elite, but how far can you let a guy who averaged 105 solo stops, 6.3 sacks and two interceptions per year prior to 2003 drop?
With Ray Lewis coming back from a shoulder injury, Urlacher will be the first individual defensive player chosen in most leagues, and for good reason. Urlacher led the NFL with 117 solo tackles and tacked on five sacks, an interception and two fumble recoveries for good measure. Urlacher is as fast as most halfbacks, and there's no reason he shouldn't fly from sideline to sideline again in 2003 and rack up the tackles.