Bears Sign Briggs, Lose Berrian

Briggs and Urlacher (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)I’m speechless.  In a complete turnaround of events, linebacker Lance Briggs has re-signed with the Chicago Bears with a 6-year, $36 million dollar contract.  After weeks of speculation that he would bolt for San Francisco 49ers, he ends up staying put.  This would explain the Bears reluctance to put money towards a top free agent offensive lineman.  If only the rest of us were in on the secret.

After a season worth of bickering and complaining, Briggs will stay in Chicago and play for the Bears for at least 6 more years.  Interesting, considering he scoffed at being paid $7.8 million last year with the franchise player tag placed on him.  However, the contract is extremely forward loaded, earning $21.6 million within the first 3 years of the contract.  He also gets $13 in guaranteed bonuses.  So effectively the contract will last about 3 years, with Briggs complaining for a renegotiation of his contract.

The sad news is the Bears not only lost wide receiver Bernard Berrian, but he signed with division rival Minnesota Vikings.  They locked him up with a 6-year, $42 million dollar contract.  This presents a pretty big blow to the Bears, who now have no receiver threat.  The position will have to be heavily addressed in free agency or the draft.  Lining up in the same offensive formation with Adrian Peterson will give Berrian a lot of opportunities to run his dangerous deep routes.  Many of Berrian’s big plays for the Bears came off of play-action passes when they had Thomas Jones.  Defenses stuffing the box to stop Peterson will have to account for Berrian going deep on every play.

The Bears defense just got a huge boost, but now the offense is going to have to be a huge priority this offseason.

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