Lance Briggs Digs Deeper Holes
Posted by sportsmaven on March 14, 2007
I was flipping the channels on the television this morning and stopped on ESPN to see Suzy Kolber interviewing Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs. Funny how all of a sudden, Lance Briggs is everywhere on television, on the radio, making his case to the fans as to how the Bears don’t respect him, that they never intended to sign him to a long term deal, that he will hold out and not play this season. That’s right, he will stare $7.2M guaranteed, in the eye and not blink.
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
John Clayton of ESPN says that this is the only thing that Lance Briggs can do at this point. He states in his column on ESPN.com:
The Lance Briggs situation in Chicago continues to get more interesting by the day, but it’s not going to change the outcome. Briggs will remain property of the Chicago Bears this season. Even though the Bears dealt halfback Thomas Jones after he asked to be traded, Briggs is too talented to let go. The Bears franchised him with the idea of keeping the linebacker for this season. He’s the Derrick Brooks of the Bears defense, but it’s Brian Urlacher’s unit so they can’t pay him more than Urlacher.
Briggs vows to sit out the season, but at worst, he’ll stay out until the final six weeks of the season. If he comes back for the final six weeks, he can get a year of vesting and at least let the franchise tag run its course for this season. Sitting out the whole year would still keep the tag on him for next year, plus he loses $7.2 million.
All Briggs can do is make the fuss as public as possible. Clearly, he’s not getting a long-term deal with the Bears. Clearly, he is holding out until at least the first week of the regular season, missing all of training camp. If you believe him, he will hold out into the season.
I beg to differ with Mr. Clayton as I think there is one thing that Lance Briggs can do and that’s shut up and play. Go to training camp and get yourself ready, get in shape and game speed, so you lessen the chance of getting hurt and you get ready for the season. Help take the Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl, work a deal with the Bears to not franchise you next season, but it is tough to negotiate when you keep opening your mouth and inserting your foot. With each scathing interviewing slamming Bears management, you lessen the likelihood of a positive outcome for yourself, as well as paint the Bears in a deep corner which will be difficult to get out from.
The Bears may have been able to work a trade for you if you had just kept quiet and went about your business, but now it will be nearly impossible for the Bears to get any kind of value in any trade scenario. At this point, the best the Bears can do is leave the franchise tag on you and let you sit out the season and then franchise you again next year. This is how the game is played, like it or not. I heard one unnamed analyst on ESPN say that the Bears are not using the franchise tag within the spirit of good faith in working to a long term agreement. That’s mularkey, a load of crap. The franchise tag is there to allow teams to designate one player as a franchise player, too valuable to let into the open market, not to work on a long term agreement or contract. The agreement is a typical byproduct of the franchise tag. Again, I think the Bears are playing it right and smart by applying the tag and not saying a word to anyone in the media or otherwise. Why say a word when Senior Lance Briggs is doing all your dirty work for you.
The other thing that Lance fails to recognize is that most players that sit out a season don’t come back to the game at the same level. Ask Todd Bell and Al Harris about that. They are the poster children of ill-timed holdouts, missing what turned out to be a once in a lifetime (or career, anyway) Super Bowl championship season, the same thing Lance Briggs is now risking by threatening to sit out this season. Well, John Clayton says that Lance Briggs can sit out all of training camp, and every regular season game through Game 10 and come back to play the last 6 games. That might be the biggest risk of them all. Talk about the risk of being injured, that is a potential injury waiting to happen. And you won’t even get the full $7.2M on top of that. THINK, Lance Briggs, THINK. I had a math teacher in high school that said that the toughest thing we’ll ever have to do in life is THINK. I never knew how right he was until now. Lance Briggs might NEVER know how right my math teacher was….EVER.