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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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