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Free Agent Breakdown: Bears Re-Sign LB D.J. Williams

By Adam Hoge-

What happened: The Bears agreed to a one-year deal with middle linebacker D.J. Williams Tuesday. Williams wanted to return to the Bears all along but a source said he was also seeking a multi-year contract, which he didn't find on the open market.

How it affects the Bears' salary cap: Brad Biggs reported the contract numbers, tweeting that the only guaranteed money in Williams' new contract is a $100,000 signing bonus. He'll receive a $955,000 base salary, a $75,000 workout bonus and a $23,000 per game roster bonus. This means the Bears will have to slot $1.5 million for the cap hit, but they have very little liability if he gets hurt again. Overall, this deal has a lot of value considering the Bears absolutely needed a starting middle linebacker.

How Williams fits the system: The Bears missed Williams after he was lost for the season last year with a torn pectoral muscle. He instantly becomes the favorite to start a middle linebacker, although Jon Bostic and Shea McClellin are expected to get reps at both middle and strong-side linebacker during the offseason.

What's ahead: After the release of Julius Peppers, the Bears still use another starting defensive end. They also need a safety and a starting cornerback.

How this affects the Bears' NFL Draft plan: The Bears could still draft a middle linebacker as Phil Emery has admitted Bostic might be better suited as a weak side linebacker down the road.

Adam Hoge covers the Bears for and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.


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