New Chicago Bears linebacker D.J. Williams didn't officially sign his contract until last Thursday, and I've finally gotten a look at the specifics via ESPN Stats & Information resources. The structure of Williams' one-year, $1.75 million deal further confirms that the Bears don't view him as a long-term replacement for Brian Urlacher.
The contract does not include any guaranteed money. Williams' base salary is $900,000, and there are two sets of roster bonuses that will pay him $23,437 for every game he is on the 53-man roster and another $23,437 each time he is on the game-day 46-man roster. So if he is active for all 16 games, those roster bonuses would total $750,000.
There is also a $100,000 workout bonus tied to offseason work.
There are reasons why Williams was available for such a relative bargain. Most notably, he only played seven games last season for the Denver Broncos because of a pair of suspensions. But the Bears still got what Matt Bowen, writing for ESPN Insider, suggests will be a 2013 upgrade over Urlacher because of Williams' "short area change-of-direction skills and speed to the ball."
As with any business, NFL teams don't want to make any more of a financial commitment than they have to. In Williams' case, the only thing the Bears are required to do is devote a low salary-cap figure ($1.328 million). And as we noted earlier Monday, the Bears are hosting a potentially longer-term answer at the position in Kansas State's Arthur Brown. The Bears have kept all options open.