Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cox to Join Bears Linebacker Agrees to Four-Year Deal with Chicago

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cox to Join Bears Linebacker Agrees to Four-Year Deal with Chicago

Article excerpt

The Bryan Cox Over America Tour has ended before it started. A source close to Cox told the Post-Dispatch on Tuesday that Cox has agreed to terms on a four-year deal with the Chicago Bears.

The source said the deal was worth $3.3 million a year with a $5 million signing bonus.

Cox, a free agent middle linebacker from the Miami Dolphins and East St. Louis, was in Chicago on Tuesday to start what was supposed to be a multicity tour of prospective National Football League employers.

Before the news spread of Cox's impending deal, the Rams were working to have Cox visit St. Louis either today or Thursday. But the Rams were informed late Tuesday night that the deal is done between Cox and Chicago and is expected to be completed today.

"I heard he signed," Rams general manager Steve Ortmayer said Tuesday night.

Earlier Tuesday, Cox told reporters in Chicago, "I'm awfully close to being a Bear. Of the teams that have looked at me and called my agent, I think the Bears have been the most relentless, saying, `We need you in order to take that next step.'

"They knew what we were looking for and they jumped to the forefront and said, `This is what we will do to get your services.' "

Cox attended a Chicago Bulls basketball game Tuesday night, sitting courtside with Bears coach Dave Wannstedt.

The Associated Press reported that a Bears spokesman at the Bulls game acknowledged that Cox had agreed to terms.

AP also quoted Cox as saying "it's a good possibility" that he will sign the deal today.

Brady told Chicago reporters that he thought Cox was worth more than Bears defensive end Alonzo Spellman, a restricted free agent who recently received a four-year, $12 million offer sheet from Jacksonville.

The Bears are desperate for a playmaker on defense, a need that would be even greater if the Bears decline to match Jacksonville's offer to Spellman.

Cox told Chicago reporters that he thought Green Bay was the other serious contender for his services. He didn't mention the Rams.

The Rams have made middle linebacker a free agent priority. Last season's starter, Shane Conlan, will turn 32 in two weeks and underwent knee surgery in late December.

While indicating all along that the Rams were interested in Cox, Ortmayer has said privately that the Rams didn't want "to break the bank" to sign Cox. …

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