By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, March 15th, 2013 at 12:08 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Linebacker Nick Roach, who has started 29 games in the last two seasons for the Chicago Bears over the past two seasons, has signed with the Raiders, the club announced Friday.
ESPN-Chicago reported that Bears’ general manager Phil Emery said his team attempted to sign Roach, but was up against the salary cap and Roach “wouldn’t make the necessary adjustments,’’ accepting the Raiders’ offer.
No terms have been disclosed.
“Once I came out to visit, I knew it was going to be a fast process,’’ Roach told ESPN-Chicago. “It was a great visit.’’
Roach is expected to step in as the Raiders middle linebacker in place of Rolando McClain, who has yet to be released but is due just over $4 million in salary and has been a disappointment both on and off the field since being the No. 8 overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
“It’s going to be great to be a middle linebacker,’’ Roach told ESPN-Chicago. “I can’t wait to get with Raiders coaches and learn the scheme.
Roach will likely be flanked by free agent signee Kaluka Maiava and incumbent starter Miles Burris. Burris was the weak side starter last season and Maiava was predominantly a weak side player with the Cleveland Browns. Both players have enough athleticism to move to the strong side, which has more coverage responsibilities with the tight end.
Philip Wheeler, the strong side starter last season, signed with the Miami Dolphins as a free agent.
An undrafted free agent out of Northwestern, Roach (6-foot-1, 234 pounds) was originally signed by the San Diego Chargers in 2007 but signed with the Bears upon his release.
He is a veteran of 59 starts for coach Lovie Smith’s primarily Cover 2 defense, playing both the strong side and in the middle.
Roach started the final four games of the season for Chicago in place of Brian Urlacher and was considered the logical choice to take that position this season, with Ulracher a free agent.
He will soon travel to Baltimore as the recipient of the Bears “Ed Block Courage Award’’ winner, given to a player on each team that “exemplify commitments to principles of sportsmanship and courage.’’
With Roach signed, free agent linebacker Dan Connor reportedly left Alameda without a contract.