Two out, two in.
[MORE: Bears agree to terms with home-grown safety Zbikowski]
The Bears lost their starting middle and strong-side linebackers in the span of five days. They have now signed their anticipated replacements in two.
After signing former Denver linebacker D.J. Williams on Friday as heir apparent to Brian Urlacher in the middle, the Bears agreed to a one-year deal with Carolina linebacker James Anderson on Sunday to take the place of Nick Roach.
The moves ostensibly dial down the seeming urgency to expend draft capital on linebackers, moving the Bears back into the enviable position of being able to select the true best player available rather than drafting for need. With need areas addressed at least in the short term – Williams is 31, Anderson turns 30 in September – the Bears improve their option of trading down in the early rounds to add draft picks.
[RELATED: Destination Draft 2013]
Anderson is 6-2, 235, and has started 53 games (44 at strong-side linebacker, eight at weak-side linebacker and one at middle linebacker) over seven seasons with Carolina (2006-12) after being selected by the Panthers in the third round (88th overall) in the 2006 draft out of Virginia Tech. In Carolina, Anderson totaled 432 defensive tackles, eight sacks, seven fumble recoveries, five forced fumbles, three interceptions, 20 pass break ups and 23 special-teams stops.
[RELATED: Tim Tebow a Bear? PFT (and the world) wonders]
Anderson was credited with three tackles, two of them solo, in the Bears’ 23-22 win over the Panthers last Oct. 28 in Soldier Field.
His 94 games played are the most by a linebacker in Carolina franchise history. He set a Panthers single-game record with 20 tackles (after coaches film review) on Sept. 20, 2012 versus the New York Giants.