Brian Urlacher is possibly the biggest name still available on the free agent market. Given some of the recent news, it seems likely it will stay that way. First, Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said that the Vikings aren't pursuing Urlacher at this point in the offseason, as noted by Kevin Patra of NFL.com. On top of that, Mike Klis of the Denver Post reports that the Broncos are not interested, either.
Both pieces of news are significant, given that Minnesota and Denver seemed the most likely destinations for Urlacher. Both teams have a big need at the position and both teams can afford Urlacher's services for a season.
On Tuesday, word came out that Urlacher was "leaning toward" signing a deal with the Minnesota Vikings, as reported by SB Nation's Jon Benne. Minnesota is without a real option at the inside linebacker position. Many feel that Erin Henderson could start at the position in the interim, but he is best on the outside.
That leaves Mike Mauti, who has a long way to go before he's ready to be a starter. That's why signing Urlacher made sense, because he would have been the ideal candidate to help bring Mauti along. Even Vikings fans liked the idea of Urlacher to Minnesota, as per the Daily Norseman:
First off, I am a big fan right now of this idea. This is how I see it- Brian Urlacher would come out with a vengeance to begin the season. He'd be darn well aware that this is probably his last season in the NFL, and I do believe he'd want some Brett Favre-style vengeance on the Bears. The guy wouldn't hold anything back, in my canine-assisted prediction.
For the Broncos, they have a big need at the position, as well. Unlike the Vikings, though, the Broncos haven't had many significant rumors linking them to Urlacher, whereas the Vikings were reportedly interested and "monitoring" Urlacher's situation since March.
It's a tough situation for Urlacher, given that he's an eight-time Pro Bowler and likely a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. He has 1,037 solo tackles, 41.5 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, 16 fumble recoveries, 22 interceptions and two touchdowns since 2000. Still, he has weak knees and he's on the wrong side of 30.
That said, the Vikings did suggest that they aren't interested "for now." Once teams get into training camp and see where they are, it's very possibly that Urlacher gets picked up on a one-year contract to fill a hole that opens up. If nobody pans out on the Vikings roster, they could quickly change their opinion on Urlacher to bring him in.