Bears sign D.J. Williams to replace Urlacher

According to Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune, the Bears have signed former Broncos’ linebacker D.J. Williams to take over for Brian Urlacher.

Williams was a heck of a player in Denver before he found trouble.  The Bears are now giving him a chance to turn things around.

Williams, 30, was cut by the Broncos after a season in which he faced two suspensions, a six game suspension for violating the league’s performance enhancing policy, and a three game suspension for his second arrest for driving under the influence.

He is a productive player with speed who had the second most tackles in the NFL in 2007.  Scouts considered him one of the best linebacker talents on the market.  He was a first round pick in 2004.

The contract Williams signed gives the Bears protection should Williams not stay on track. His base salary is $900,000, and none of his contract is guaranteed.  He can earn a maximum of $1.75 million if he hits a workout bonus and a series of roster bonuses spread out over time.

The deal also represents an opportunity for the 6-foot-1, 242-pound Williams to get his career headed back in the right direction with a talented group of defensive players.