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D.J. Williams signs 1-year contract with Chicago Bears

It didn't take long for the Chicago Bears to find a successor for middle linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Two days after dropping the bombshell that negotiations had been cut off with the future Hall of Famer, the Bears signed former Denver Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams to a one-year contract worth less than $2 million, a source with knowledge of the contract told NFL.com's Ian Rapoport on Friday. The Bears later confirmed the signing.

The Chicago Tribune first reported the move.

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Williams, 30, was a salary-cap casualty two weeks ago when the Broncos balked at his $6 million salary. He lost his starting job last season after missing a total of nine games due to a pair of suspensions.

With a reported non-guaranteed $900,000 base salary and a chance to earn up to $1.75 million if incentives are met, according to the Tribune, it's a smart signing for both sides. Williams has a chance to rebuild his market value for one last multiyear contract in 2014 while the Bears land a cheap starter to police the middle of a talented defense.

While it's true that Williams is no upgrade on the Urlacher of two or three years ago, he adds an element of speed that was noticeably missing following Urlacher's 2012 offseason knee procedures.

The move effectively closes the door on the possibility of Urlacher returning at a bargain-basement rate.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling

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