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Posts Tagged ‘Super Bowl’

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.

Lance Briggs Won’t Play For The Bears
(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.

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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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Lots Of Lovie In Chicago Tonight (And A Little Bit Of Angelo Too)

Posted by sportsmaven on March 1, 2007

Lovie and Jerry. Jerry and Lovie. Together the pair will be synonymous with the new Chicago Bears football landscape — for better or worse. Like the marriage it portrays, both Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo signed long term contracts to remain with the Chicago Bears in their current capacities. My collegues at Da’ Bears Blog said it best — short, sweet, and concise. Glad all is well at Halas Hall now. The dysfunctional family is fixed, the non-believers or conformers have been swept aside and the those who want to be Chicago Bears, at least on the coaching staff, are now Chicago Bears. (gotta work on the players now)

Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo
(Getty Images/chicagobears.com)

Lovie and Jerry, Jerry and Lovie, when you signed your names on the dotted lines the expectations heaped upon you have become enormous. In case you can’t see the Lake Forest for the trees, let me say it again, ENORMOUS. Anything short of a Super Bowl victory next season is complete failure. No time to let Rex Grossman develop on the job, no time to let a dominant defense collapse when it’s most needed. No more excuses for an inconsistent offense, or a whining Cedric Benson, or an underappreciated Thomas Jones. The stakes just went up. You played hardball with your salary negotiations and now you will need to play that same hardball on the tough personnel and roster decisions that need to be made between now and training camp. Super Bowl victory next season, because I can tell you right now, there are 61,500 + people that will be financing your shiny new raises and we will expect nothing less for next year and beyond.

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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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NBA Courts The Pretty People To Las Vegas

Posted by sportsmaven on February 18, 2007

One of the best things about the 2007 NBA All-Star weekend is that the pretty people love to see incredible athletes do their thing. The fact that this year’s All-Star game is in Las Vegas gives the pretty people even more incentive to show up to the NBA’s biggest party of the season. The NBA is all about entertainment and they are, by far, the best at doing it. The NFL certainly gives them a run for their money with the Super Bowl, especially this season in Miami, but the NBA definitely writes the playbook for high octane, luscious, sexy in your face entertainment surrounding what amounts to an athletic exhibition.

The ring leader for this year’s party is one of my favorite guys associated with the NBA, Mayor Oscar Goodman of Las Vegas.

Mayor Oscar Goodman of Las Vegas
NBAE/Getty Images

Mayor Goodman has been working the NBA for years to not only get this event to Sin City, but to eventually get an NBA team to call Las Vegas home. I believe that Las Vegas shouldn’t have any professional sports teams due to the betting issues, but for the NBA in particular, I believe that Las Vegas should be the PERMANENT home of the NBA All-Star game. The city and the NBA are a perfect match in this arena and if the powers that be in the NBA have any vision, they should make this so and do it now.

The other thing I love about the NBA is that it knows how to do cheerleaders. It’s great to be able to go to a basketball game to see the world’s best athletes, but now we get to see the world’s best cheerleaders (or dancers, or whatever you want to call them) and the NBA is doing an All-Star roster of cheerleaders, one from each team. This is fabulous. In Chicago, our all-star entry is Shanon from the Luvabulls and DePaul University.

Shanon from the chicago bullsErin from the detriot pistonsHeidi from the sacramento kings

By the way, my favorite Eastern Conference dancer is Erin from the Detroit Pistons and my favorite Western Conference dancer is Heidi from the Sacramento Kings (love her eyes!) Tell me who your favorite dancer for each conference is in the comments section of this post and I will do a post featuring your winners.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a complete NBA All Star weekend blog post without some of the pretty celebrities:

Eva Longoria at 2007 NBA All Star WeekendCarrot Top At 2007 NBA All Star WeekendDiddy At 2007 NBA All Star Game
NBAE/Getty Images

Eva is game, Carrot Top has game, and Diddy owns the game….only in Vegas, baby!

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