The Chicago Bears have a gaping hole at linebacker right now.
Next to Pro Bowl performers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs on the depth chart is a blank space.
The Bears do not have any other veteran linebackers under contract right now, although they did use a sixthp-round draft pick in West Virginia’s J.T. Thomas. It’s created a situation where the Bears will have to not only find a starter for the strong side when free agency opens, they will need to build depth too.
Pisa Tinoisamoa started 10 games alongside Urlacher and Briggs last season, but he is rehabilitating from his third surgery on his right knee since joining the club in 2009. Tinoisamoa missed 14 games in ’09 with injuries to the knee. Arthroscopic surgery in December forced him to miss three games and then he had another procedure shortly after the season ended, casting into his doubt his availability for the start of training camp, whenever that is.
Nick Roach started six games and he’s also a free agent who is very familiar with the scheme and has spent most of his time on the strong side.
"To me, you look at how close we came to the Super Bowl and you look at the guys who helped us get there," Briggs said. "When the lockout is over, we'll go get these guys.
"They make us the best linebacking corps in the game. When you need a Pisa, you need a Nick. When you need a Nick, you need a Pisa. You have to have both of them."
Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs
Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune
Check out our partners at TiqIQ for the best deals on all games on the 2014 NFL schedule.
OCT 30 Seth Schwartz
From the NFL to the CFL to the WFL and the USFL, Johnnie Walton's career was one for the ages.
OCT 28 Jeff Fedotin
Hated on by fans, San Diego’s quarterback is having an MVP-caliber year.
OCT 26 Joel Corry
The Tampa Bay defensive tackle cashes in for $95.2 million.