Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune first reported today that the Chicago Bears have agreed to terms with free agent linebacker Geno Hayes. The club announced today it is a one-year deal.
LB Geno Hayes
Kyle Terada/US Presswire
Hayes is a four-year veteran that was drafted in the sixth round of the 2008 draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He started 42 games for the Bucs the past three seasons combined, mostly at weak side linebacker. For his career, Hayes has 257 tackles, 7.0 sacks, four interceptions and four forced fumbles.
Hayes was briefly demoted last season, after being the full-time starter the previous two seasons. The Bucs made no effort to re-sign him.
The Bears worked out five veteran linebackers this week: Hayes, Bryan Kehl, Zac Diles, Gerris Wilkinson and Rocky McIntosh. Chicago brass obviously felt Hayes is the best fit.
He'll provide depth at a position that was perilously thin last year. Hayes should also challenge Nick Roach for the starting SAM spot in training camp. Roach was the full-time starter for the first-time in his career last season. He was solid but not great. Hayes will be given a shot to unseat him.
The move means the Bears are less likely to use a high draft pick on a linebacker in the upcoming draft.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.