Yesterday Phil Emery added depth to the offensive line with the signing of guard Chilo Rachal, and today, the Bears' first-year general manager boosted the linebacker depth with the signing of linebacker Geno Hayes to a one-year deal.

The Bears brought in Hayes, as well as linebackers Rocky McIntosh, Zac Diles, Bryan Kehl, and Gerris Wilkinson for a workout this week at Halas Hall. So clearly the Bears felt Hayes was the best fit of that group.

Hayes, 24, spent the last four seasons as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, and started a total of 42 games over that time. A Florida State product, Hayes was drafted by the Bucs in the sixth round of the 2008 draft.

The 6'1", 226-pound outside linebacker had 64 tackles, two forced fumbles, and one interception last season. In 2009, he had a career-high 98 tackles, and in 2010, he had a career-high four sacks, as well as a pick-six.

Hayes figures to compete with Nick Roach for the starting strongside linebacker job, but most likely will serve as a backup. Whatever the case, the Bears desperately needed depth at the linebacker position, and at worst, Hayes would provide a quality backup to Roach/Lance Briggs/Brian Urlacher.

The rest of the linebackers on the team are Blake Costanzo (special teams ace), Dom DeCicco (former undrafted free agent), J.T. Thomas (Bears' sixth-rounder who missed the entire '11 season), Jabara Williams (former seventh-rounder), and Patrick Trahan (former undrafted free agent). Hayes is really the only backup you'd feel very comfortable with playing out of that group.

And looking long-term, this could turn out to be an impactful signing (even though he's currently on just a one-year contract). Urlacher is 33 and Briggs is 31, so the Bears really need to begin bringing in some youth at the position. Hayes is a nice start to that, but the Bears may still look to address the position in the draft next week.

Still, this move gives Emery some more flexibility heading into the draft, just like the Rachal signing did.

Get The Latest DBN Updates By Following Us On Twitter.