GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 23: Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher #54 of the Chicago Bears stands on the sidelines during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 23, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Bears defeated the Cardinals 28-13. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Though it's the off-season, the game is underway.
Brian Urlacher and the Bears' contract talks reportedly have begun with Urlacher making the first move and his agents laying out contract parameters Thursday.
There's no question that both the Bears and Urlacher want the veteran linebacker to return to Chicago and finish his career here. Urlacher made nearly $8 million in 2012 but was hampered by a knee and hamstring injury. Even when he was healthy, he wasn't playing at the level he once was.
Now the two sides have to decide what price Urlacher is worth. General manager Phil Emery promised Urlacher won't be slighted in the contract process. According to the Chicago Tribune, Urlacher will be looking for a deal in the $5 million per-year range for two years. The contract would then end when Urlacher is 37.
If a deal isn't signed, Urlacher will become a free agent on Tuesday at 3 p.m. But with both sides interested, it's likely we'll see a contract agreement reached.