BBAO: Bears lose Nick Roach to Raiders

We're Black and Blue All Over:

We have more overnight news in the NFC North's free agency frenzy. Former Chicago Bears linebacker Nick Roach agreed to terms with the Oakland Raiders, leaving the Bears without a versatile player who has been a starter -- at two different positions -- for most of the past five years.

Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com has the details. Bears general manager Phil Emery said this week that the Bears were up against the salary cap, and the Bears were either unable to match the Raiders' offer to Roach or unwilling to make the necessary adjustments. That means the Bears will have at least one significant change among their starting linebackers in 2013, and it could be two if veteran Brian Urlacher does not return.

There are no obvious replacements on the roster at strongside linebacker, Roach's primary position. The Bears will need to find a cheap starter in free agency or else look to the draft. Although he typically came off the field on third downs, Roach still played 66 percent of the Bears' snaps last season, because he also filled in for an injured Urlacher in the middle.

Continuing around the NFC North: