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Posts Tagged ‘Dallas Cowboys’

Chicago Bears Trade Thomas Jones…Is Lance Briggs Next?

Posted by sportsmaven on March 5, 2007

The Chicago Bears continue their offseason overhaul by trading top RB Thomas Jones and their second round pick (#63 in the draft) to the New York Jets for the Jets 2nd round pick (#37). My buddy Stu in New York is estatic, actually called me on the phone tonight to let me know how happy he was. The Jets got a great deal, they picked up a starting quality RB and only gave up a few spots of draft order in the 2nd round of this year’s draft. Not sure if the Bears received good value on this trade, as I believe we could have also gotten a mid to late round pick as well if you just asked. In my opinion, this is a trade mainly for two reasons: first, to get a potential problem out of the locker room, and second, to serve as an example of making the hard decision not to overpay for talent that is available in other outlets.

Thomas Jones Traded to the Jets
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

John Clayton from ESPN provides another tke on evaluating the Bears trade of  Jones:

Bears moving up: If you are trying to figure out the Thomas Jones trade, it’s pretty simple. The Bears moved up 26 spots in the second round, getting a Jets pick at No. 37. That’s a prime position to get a borderline rookie starter or a quality prospect. Why would the Bears have to give up a second-round pick and Jones to get a second-round pick? The answer is simple. The market for veteran running backs is at best a third-round pick. The Bears wanted to get a second-round pick alone but they couldn’t. If you look at the draft value charts, the Bears gave up 280 points. That’s the equivalent of one of the final choices of the second round or a top choice in the third round. In other words, they got the best value possible for a 28-year-old running back.

My feeling on this trade or any other proposed trade is at this point, it really only benefits the Bears, especially in the situation with Jones. Thomas Jones is a good back. Is he great? Not at all, but very good, solid. The days of the single dominant RB’s are dwindling as more teams are starting to share the load with 2 solid RB’s. Worked very well for the Bears last season. Also worked well for the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, and Dallas Cowboys. By the way, all these teams were also playoff teams. So renegotiating Thomas Jones contract and meeting his needs were clearly out of the picture. Jones’ agent Drew Rosenhaus (who also happens to be Lance Briggs’ agent) is notorious for trying to get teams to renegotiate and it has worked well for him in the past. Sometimes not for his players, in terms of moving to teams that are far away from Super Bowl contention, but he does get his players paid.

Speaking of Lance Briggs, I know he is unhappy with the franchise tag, but that is the NFL. He blames the Bears and he states that he doesn’t want to play for this team anymore since they will not give him a long term deal (which hasn’t been fully played out yet). He is a victim of the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed by both the owners and Players Association. If you want to be mad, direct your anger to Gene Upshaw. The Bears are playing within the rules of the CBA. Lance Briggs was on ESPN Radio 1000 and WSCR 60 Chicago today making his case that it’s not about the money, but rather the respect. I think Lance Briggs just negotiated himself out of anything good happening in his favor out of this situation with his public radio comments.

Lance Briggs Gets Franchised by Bears
(AP Photo)

The Bears have a unique chance as one of the favorites to go to the Super Bowl again next season. Lance is headed towards Todd Bell and Al Harris territory with this stance. If you are not about the money, but winning the Super Bowl, take the guaranteed $7.2M and play to win. This Chicago Bears team becomes a bit more uncertain after next season. Lance, we are not naive….we know it’s about nothing about the money. If you don’t want to be here in Chicago to win, fine. I think the Bears should trade you. You take your risks on that one. Maybe the Bears trade you to the Oakland Raiders, what do you think about that? You gonna sign that deal with that team? Maybe the Bears don’t trade you and you decide to sit out a season, then what? Do you do it all again next season with another potential franchise tag? Do you think the Bears are gonna trade you to the Colts, Patriots, Cowboys, or any other team that may contend for the Super Bowl? Unless they are bowled over with an offer, probably not.

This one might get even more ugly than it is now, and Lance, I’m afraid you are not negotiating from a position of strength. If I were the Bears, I would do exactly nothing in this situation. No trade, no release. Play for the $7.2M this season. Hold out of all OTA’s, hold out of all training camp if you like. Hold out the season. Who is the big loser in this scenario? Lance Briggs, that’s who. No play, no pay. Hold out a season, kiss a $12-14M signing bonus goodbye. Kiss $50M contract goodbye. And guess what, Lance? The Bears can franchise you again next season and we can do it all over again…..and for Drew Rosenhaus? He will be working on a new contract for Bears DT Tommie Harris, so he is not likely to get into any kind of long term pissing match with the Bears and risk losing a payday for another client who may be potentially even better than Lance Briggs. It appears it looks like a long two years for Mr. Briggs……

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What Is Going On At Halas Hall?

Posted by sportsmaven on February 21, 2007

I’m not sure what is going on at Halas Hall, but leave it to the Chicago Bears to mess up a good thing. Word came today from Frank Bauer, agent for Lovie Smith, that the Bears are at an impasse with their head coach on an extension of his current contract. This team, fresh off a Super Bowl, knows how to take momentum and run it completely into the ground. Ironically, this has the stink of Michael McCaskey all over it. What this family has to realize is that they have a Super Bowl contending team next season and that continutity is paramount to nurturing an environment of success necessary to win. It’s one thing to lose staff and players because your team won the Super Bowl. That’s the trappings of success. It’s another thing when your team actually LOSES the Super Bowl and you are losing players/coaches because of your ineptness in recognizing and locking up your talent. I do give the Bears credit for signing Dave Toub, arguably the best special teams coach currently in the business.

Halas Hall

It’s another when you lose coaches Harold Goodwin, Don Johnson, let your popular defensive coordinator, Ron Rivera walk after 99% of the open NFL jobs are already filled, and allowing Wade Wilson to interview for a lateral position with the Dallas Cowboys. In addition, key staff members Bobby DePaul and Greg Gabriel’s contracts are up shortly after the NFL draft. So what do we call this? An unequivocal mess. The Bears need to understand that they are in the NFL and that they need to capitalize on their opportunities of not just making it to the Super Bowl but actually winning the Super Bowl. The way they have approached the off season is certainly not the way winning organizations operate. The Bears have more Arizona Cardinals in them than New England Patriots, and this does not bode well for next season….stay tuned for more of this ongoing soap opera in Lake Forest.

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New Orleans Saints A Team of Destiny?

Posted by sportsmaven on January 18, 2007

The buzz phrase this week from our friends in the national media is that the New Orleans Saints are a team of destiny.  The Indianapolis Colts have also used that self descriptive moniker when talking about themselves, as though the hand of God is sweeping away all challengers and paving a path of gold for these two teams to meet in Miami on Feb. 4th for pro football’s biggest prize,  Super Bowl XLI.  When people start pulling out the Team of Destiny card, it’s often a sign that a team is not playing well enough to consistently win.  Last I heard, they still had to play the games on the field.  Several Seattle Seahawks stated that after the Dallas Cowboys game, that they were a Team of Destiny.  They were a team of destiny all right, destined to watch the rest of the playoffs at home on a high definition plasma screen.

So if we plan on using the Team of Destiny line, shouldn’t we be able to bring in other forms of sporting voodoo in play?  How about the Billy Goat curse or the ex-Cub factor?  (Sorry, wrong sport)  But what about the SI jinx?  I just received this week’s copy of Sports Illustrated in the mail today and look who was on the cover.  For those who don’t subscribe, here is a visual:

Drew Brees on SI

So which theory prevails this weekend?  Sorry Drew, we play the game on the field and here are my keys to the NFC Championship Game:

Bears – Rex Grossman and the defense is what everyone talks about as keys to whether the Bears move on or not, but I think that is the easy way out.  The real keys for the Bears are a bit more complex than that.  I am looking at 3rd down conversions as a key stat this week.  The Bears are at 31% in stopping 3rd down coversions, which is #2 in the NFL in that category.  Stop 3rd down conversions, and you keep Drew Brees, Reggie  Bush, Deuce McAllister, and company off the field and keep a mediocre Saints defense on the field.  Secondly, do not let Brees get comfortable in the pocket.  Change the looks he’s getting, use the blitz early, take him out of his rhythm.  If Brees is allowed to get comfortable early, his accurate passing will pick the Bears secondary apart, especially with little to no push to the quarterback from the Bears front four.  Finally, win the turnover battle and get very physical.  The Washington Redskins did this in the regular season and held Brees to his lowest QB rating of the season (59.9).

Saints – the Bears actually match up with the Saints fairly well, so the keys for the Saints are to establish the run early to loosen up the passing game.  McAllister and Bush are the best combo backfield in the NFL and are ideal complements to each other.  The Saints like to use a version of the spread offense to open up lanes for Bush and Marques Colston to exploit.  If McAllister is established early, those lanes open up like a landing strip at O’Hare.  Secondly, the Saints need their rush ends, Will Smith and Charles Grant to get a push on Grossman to protect their weak secondary.  The Saints are prone to the big play and when they give it up, they give it up BIG.  (ask Fred Thomas about that)  Put the heat on Rex and the Bears offense slams to a grinding halt.  Finally, win the time of possession battle.  Keep the #1 rated offense in the NFC on the field as much as possible.

The Sports Maven’s prediction: Bears 31, Saints 24

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