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NFL news roundup: Brian Urlacher, John Abraham, free agency and more

The NFL free agent period opens soon, but we're beginning to get a better picture about where two key defensive players may end up.

Jonathan Daniel

The NFL's free agency period begins on Tuesday, and there are already some hints where two of the top defensive names could be leaning. Brian Urlacher is eyeing a return with the Chicago Bears, while former Atlanta Falcons' defensive end John Abraham is looking west, potentially joining a team he met in the playoffs.

Teams can't begin to negotiate with players until 4 p.m ET on March 12th, but we have the headlines on where players might be landing when the feeding frenzy begins.

Linebacker Brian Urlacher is reportedly working toward a deal with the Chicago Bears to keep him in the Windy City for another few years. While Urlacher didn't play all 16 games in 2012 and there was a noticeable decline in his production, he's an iconic figure on the Bears defense and keeping him in Chicago would likely be a good thing for both sides.

Falcons defensive end John Abraham isn't allowed to visit other teams quite yet, but when he is, he'll make the trip to Seattle to visit with the Seahawks, according to sources. Despite the Seahawks having one of the top defenses in the league last season, they struggled at times to pressure the opposing quarterback. Abraham's presence, should he sign with the Seahawks, should help.

Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Tyson Jackson took a $10 million pay cut with his salary for the upcoming season was reduced from $14.72 million to $4.2 million. He freed up $2.8 million in cap space for the Chiefs by restructuring his contract and it seemed as though he had the choice of taking a pay cut or becoming a cap casualty heading into the 2013 season.

With the recent research done on multiple concussions and long-term brain health, the NFL has implemented several new, and somewhat unpopular, rules to keep players safe. However, new studies have shown that it isn't just concussions that are causing a problem for players and their health, it's also subconcussive hits that, when piled up on top of each other, can cause brain damage in the future.

Speaking of health, Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jake Long has been given a clean bill. He has become one of the best offensive tackles in the league and is set to hit free agency when the new league year begins. With the news that he's healthy, and the pressing need for teams to protect their quarterbacks from increasingly talented pass rushers, Long could get a massive deal.

The Tennessee Titans and kicker Rob Bironas came to an agreement on a two-year deal to keep the talented kicker in Nashville. Bironas struggled in 2012, but he has been reliable overall for the Titans.

The Atlanta Falcons announced a deal to build a new stadium to replace the Georgia Dome has be reached. The price tag for the new stadium is reportedly $1 billion with the NFL supplying $800 million for the project.

With the news that the Chiefs released right tackle Eric Winston, the Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Texans are already reportedly interested in signing the free agent. Winston, along with the Bengals' Andre Smith, will likely be considered one of the top right tackle free agents when the new league year begins.

Longtime defensive stalwart Takeo Spikes will be released from the Chargers. Despite his solid body of work, Spikes is one of the few linebackers to be in the league as long as he has without a single playoff appearance. He's aging, but teams will likely be interested in signing the talented middle linebacker.

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