Chicago Bears Have Brought This Briggs Situation on Themselves


Shocker! Lance Briggs is unhappy about his $36 million contract.

Everyone is piling on Lance Briggs today and rightfully so.  The BGO team is on Briggs here and here.   There is no reason to create a distraction with a foolish trade request just over a week before the start of the regular season.  Teams with championship aspirations – and right or wrong that’s how the Bears see themselves – don’t need the sideshow.  As a leader of this team, Briggs should know and respect that.

But make no mistake about it – the Bears have brought this on themselves.  How so, you ask?  Let me take you inside the mind of a serial complainer to see why Briggs thinks he has a chance in the world to get paid or traded.

The Urlacher Precedent

Brian Urlacher  went to the organization with years remaining on his deal back in 2008 and the Bears acquiesced and threw the face of the franchise new paper.  Here’s Brad Biggs on that deal:

Brian Urlacher didn’t get a new deal in 2008, he got an extension. He was five years through a nine-year contract when the club appeased him with a one-year extension worth $18 million. How was Urlacher’s extension paid out? He was given a $6 million signing bonus. He had $1 million tacked on to existing base pay in the remaining four years on his contract and then 2012 was added on at a total values of $8 million with $500,000 of it available in a workout bonus.

Here is how it broke down:

Urlacher’s one-year extension in 2008

$6 million signing bonus
2008 base pay $3.95 million plus $1 million added in extension
2009 base pay $4.95 million plus $1 million added in extension
2010 base pay $6.15 million plus $1 million added in extension
2011 base pay $7.35 million plus $1 million added in extension
New year
2012 base pay $7.5 million and $500,000 workout bonus

Briggs sees himself on Urlacher’s level and with 6 straight Pro Bowls (something even future Hall of Famer Urlacher can’t boast), he feels like he’s got the right to get a better deal.  I said this before when I wrote about Briggs – he and his contract crybaby attitude remind me so much of former Bull Scottie Pippen and his contract squabbles while playing in the shadow of a much more acclaimed teammate.  Inferiority complex much?

Drastically Under the Cap

I have to admit I heard this argument on the radio today and thought it was an interesting take.  The Bears sit somewhere about $19 million under the salary cap since they basically chose to go dumpster diving instead of going out and spending money on top line free agents.  Bears veterans see that big pile of cash and don’t want to miss out on cutting their share of it.  They know Matt Forte is going to take a piece of that.

There have already been rumblings about Harris and Garza in line for extensions.  Earl Bennett could also be in line for a new deal.  If the Bears had spent some of their hefty cap space to bring in a legit wide receiver or some depth for the secondary, maybe there wouldn’t be a mutiny brewing for everyone to get a piece of the pie.   Basically, this problem is non-existent if the Bears aren’t so far under the cap in the first place.

Bad Drafts

Lance Briggs thinks he has some sort of leverage because the Bears don’t have any depth and linebacker.  While he doesn’t really have any leverage, he’s right about one thing – there is nothing behind the starters in the Bears linebacking corp.  This has come about thanks to years of bad drafts where the Bears were seeking to create some depth.  Real organizations have a line of succession in place; the Bears have a checkbook.

Ever since Briggs’ last  contract dispute back in 2007, the Bears have been trying to replace him in the draft.  Michael Okwo, Joey LaRocque and Marcus Freeman were linebackers the Bears drafted and since parted company with.  They had a suitable backup in Jamar Williams, but had to trade him to Carolina to bring back Chris Harris to fix their broken safety position.  Now the Bears are anorexic thin at linebacker and Briggs knows damn well they’re not going to trade him, so why not expose that weakness and try to squeeze them for a few extra bucks?

Let me make myself perfectly clear – Lance Briggs is an asshat for pushing for this trade and an even bigger jerk for taking his demands public.  Grown ups deal with these things behind closed doors.   In a time when record number of people are out of work or can’t pay their mortgage, there is no sympathy out there for a guy getting paid millions to play a game.  This is a PR blunder by Briggs and usually razor sharp agent Drew Rosenhaus as fans are rallying against Briggs.  Briggs sympathizers argue that anyone has a right to go ask their boss for a raise.  Most of us aren’t in the middle of a contract that will pay us $36 million dollars.

My best advice to Briggs is shut up and play football.  My advice to the Bears – go get a suitable replacement and send him to freaking Cleveland.

My guy DeCon dropped me a line today and asked – would you send Briggs to the Eagles for Asante Samuel and a 3rd round pick?  I’ll turn it around and ask you – would you make that deal?  What do you think Briggs’ value on the open market really is?  And last, vote in our poll.

What happens next with Lance Briggs?

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  • JerryRichardson

    Lance Briggs is simply a “good football” player who has benefited from an organization that utilized a scheme of defense, vastly greater talent in the middle (Brian Urlacher) and enough talented position players within the defenseive scheme to allow Briggs to excel. On any other team, Briggs does become the Pro Bowler caliber player he has become in Chicago. Briggs is a fckng idiot being lead around by $$$ signs and a very greedy agent who has failed to take a good long educated look at the market value of his player and his player’s true skill set. If he had, he would have told Lance to sit down, shut up and play thru his contract untill the end of this season before trying to blow up Lance’s ego and greedily and stupidly force a new contract. I say the Bears would be wise to attempt a trade for Samuels and a 3rd round pick if the Eagles are interested in Briggs at all. Samuels would be an instant upgrade to this defense even without having the bella donna Briggs playing opposite Urlacher….the reality is easy to this…Samuels in the backfield opposite Tilman….Urlacher and Peppers and Ijonde up front….any decent run stopping linebacker would be able to perform at a very high level within this defense and prove that Briggs was a product of the experience and talent around him more so then his own god given talent.

  • JerryRichardson

    Lance Briggs is simply a “good football” player who has benefited from an organization that utilized a scheme of defense, vastly greater talent in the middle (Brian Urlacher) and enough talented position players within the defenseive scheme to allow Briggs to excel. On any other team, Briggs does become the Pro Bowler caliber player he has become in Chicago. Briggs is a fckng idiot being lead around by $$$ signs and a very greedy agent who has failed to take a good long educated look at the market value of his player and his player’s true skill set. If he had, he would have told Lance to sit down, shut up and play thru his contract untill the end of this season before trying to blow up Lance’s ego and greedily and stupidly force a new contract. I say the Bears would be wise to attempt a trade for Samuels and a 3rd round pick if the Eagles are interested in Briggs at all. Samuels would be an instant upgrade to this defense even without having the bella donna Briggs playing opposite Urlacher….the reality is easy to this…Samuels in the backfield opposite Tilman….Urlacher and Peppers and Ijonde up front….any decent run stopping linebacker would be able to perform at a very high level within this defense and prove that Briggs was a product of the experience and talent around him more so then his own god given talent.

  • flowermike

    Wow Jerry Richardson, are you sober?

    Briggs was a product of the talent around him? Urlacher is vastly greater talent? You have got to be kidding. “Benefitting from this organization???” Briggs has been our most impactful player in the Lovie era. Without him, the system will give up more yards than it currently, willingly concedes. You can’t run a retreat defense without Briggs.

    And Boom, your Pippen analogy is off because Briggs often makes more plays than Urlacher (blocked into oblivion some days). The guy is our playmaker, anyone remember the playoff victory against the Saints that extended Lovies tenure?

    Briggs looks around and sees an anemic team that has drafted so poorly, it’s vulnerable against any starter loss. The entire draft class of 07 is gone. There aren’t even 3 starting linebackers on this current team. Jamar Williams couldn’t even see the field unti Brian was on IR.

    If the Bears paid the back end of the current contract now, he’d be fine. All players sense they will never see the end of these contracts and know that the “organization” has no loyalty to anything (including fans) but money.

    Is he going about it poorly? Do you think a private meeting with Jerry and keeping everything “in house” will result in anything? No.

    The dude is complaining. And Jerry Richardson must work for Larry Mayer because his rose colored corpo glasses are fogging up.

    Lance signed a bad deal and knows it and I remember all the morons casting doubt on his ability then. How many pro bowls was that ago?

    And how many has Urlacher played in since?

  • flowermike

    Wow Jerry Richardson, are you sober?

    Briggs was a product of the talent around him? Urlacher is vastly greater talent? You have got to be kidding. “Benefitting from this organization???” Briggs has been our most impactful player in the Lovie era. Without him, the system will give up more yards than it currently, willingly concedes. You can’t run a retreat defense without Briggs.

    And Boom, your Pippen analogy is off because Briggs often makes more plays than Urlacher (blocked into oblivion some days). The guy is our playmaker, anyone remember the playoff victory against the Saints that extended Lovies tenure?

    Briggs looks around and sees an anemic team that has drafted so poorly, it’s vulnerable against any starter loss. The entire draft class of 07 is gone. There aren’t even 3 starting linebackers on this current team. Jamar Williams couldn’t even see the field unti Brian was on IR.

    If the Bears paid the back end of the current contract now, he’d be fine. All players sense they will never see the end of these contracts and know that the “organization” has no loyalty to anything (including fans) but money.

    Is he going about it poorly? Do you think a private meeting with Jerry and keeping everything “in house” will result in anything? No.

    The dude is complaining. And Jerry Richardson must work for Larry Mayer because his rose colored corpo glasses are fogging up.

    Lance signed a bad deal and knows it and I remember all the morons casting doubt on his ability then. How many pro bowls was that ago?

    And how many has Urlacher played in since?

  • City

    Not sure I agree with you Jerry. The truth is Briggs is an exceptional linebacker and probably the best non-middle linebacker we have ever had (and yes, that includes Otis and Wilbur). Isn’t the whole point of the strike and negotiation an attempt to figure out how to pay your veterans more and your rookies less?

    As much as I hate Drew Roseandscrew, I believe that Briggs would be the face of the franchise (at least for the D) of any other team other than Bears (because of Urlacher) and the Ravens (because of Lewis). 6 straight pro bowls isn’t an accident and it isn’t because of the scheme.

    As much as I wish he was focused on killing the Packers, I don’t think it’s an illiegitimate request from him to ask for more money. I’m not sure the Bears will offer it up though, and that’s where the downward spiral in emotion and bad locker-room blood comes in. It will definitely be a distraction, and I don’t think the team can afford it.

  • City

    Not sure I agree with you Jerry. The truth is Briggs is an exceptional linebacker and probably the best non-middle linebacker we have ever had (and yes, that includes Otis and Wilbur). Isn’t the whole point of the strike and negotiation an attempt to figure out how to pay your veterans more and your rookies less?

    As much as I hate Drew Roseandscrew, I believe that Briggs would be the face of the franchise (at least for the D) of any other team other than Bears (because of Urlacher) and the Ravens (because of Lewis). 6 straight pro bowls isn’t an accident and it isn’t because of the scheme.

    As much as I wish he was focused on killing the Packers, I don’t think it’s an illiegitimate request from him to ask for more money. I’m not sure the Bears will offer it up though, and that’s where the downward spiral in emotion and bad locker-room blood comes in. It will definitely be a distraction, and I don’t think the team can afford it.

  • AaronT.Starks

    The comparison to Pippen is off. Pippen was GROSSLY outplaying his contract. Kraus and Reinsdorf basically ripped Pippen off for his last 5 years on the Bulls. When he signed his first free-agent contract, they told him that their deal was the best he would get. Granted, Pippen wasn’t bright for taking that deal, but getting paid $2.5 million a season for what he brought to that team (it would’ve been impossible for them to win titles, even WITH Jordan, without Pippen. And vice-versa).

    Briggs isn’t anywhere CLOSE as valuable to the Bears as Pippen was to the Bulls. And Briggs isn’t getting underpaid nearly as much as Pippen was.

  • AaronT.Starks

    The comparison to Pippen is off. Pippen was GROSSLY outplaying his contract. Kraus and Reinsdorf basically ripped Pippen off for his last 5 years on the Bulls. When he signed his first free-agent contract, they told him that their deal was the best he would get. Granted, Pippen wasn’t bright for taking that deal, but getting paid $2.5 million a season for what he brought to that team (it would’ve been impossible for them to win titles, even WITH Jordan, without Pippen. And vice-versa).

    Briggs isn’t anywhere CLOSE as valuable to the Bears as Pippen was to the Bulls. And Briggs isn’t getting underpaid nearly as much as Pippen was.

  • AaronT.Starks

    @flowermike You sound like a fool. Briggs IS the product of playing with Urlacher. And you simply sound as if you have no idea what you’re talking about. Urlacher is CLEARLY a level above Briggs.

    If Urlacher got up after every play and talked trash, or if he gave flashy interviews, everyone would be all on his jock. But because he’s unassuming and he TACKLES instead of trying to knock guy’s heads off every play, you get silliness like your post. Check the stats, man. Numbers don’t lie. Urlacher is one of the best linebackers EVER. But since there aren’t any NFL FIlms worth on-field quotes from him, he’s overlooked.

  • AaronT.Starks

    @flowermike You sound like a fool. Briggs IS the product of playing with Urlacher. And you simply sound as if you have no idea what you’re talking about. Urlacher is CLEARLY a level above Briggs.

    If Urlacher got up after every play and talked trash, or if he gave flashy interviews, everyone would be all on his jock. But because he’s unassuming and he TACKLES instead of trying to knock guy’s heads off every play, you get silliness like your post. Check the stats, man. Numbers don’t lie. Urlacher is one of the best linebackers EVER. But since there aren’t any NFL FIlms worth on-field quotes from him, he’s overlooked.

  • AaronT.Starks

    @City Pro Bowls are actually meaningless unless you judge them agains others for HoF consideration. They’re popularity contests where “names” just keep getting in based on reputation. Tons of worthy players get skipped over for the Pro Bowl every year and tons of unworthy players get chosen.

  • AaronT.Starks

    @City Pro Bowls are actually meaningless unless you judge them agains others for HoF consideration. They’re popularity contests where “names” just keep getting in based on reputation. Tons of worthy players get skipped over for the Pro Bowl every year and tons of unworthy players get chosen.

  • flowermike

    Aaron did you just cry on your #54 jersey or are those drops from when you genuflect whenever you think of Uhrlacher?

    And I don’t read where anyone questioned him for not taking peoples heads off… projection my man, we were talking about Briggs.

    Briggs is our playmaker.

    I’m not sure about asking for more dough, but this lock out has galvanized one thought in my mind. I’m entertained by the players, not the ownership/management. The owners have no loyalty to the fans or the players. Players shelf lives are very short and they deserve the compensation for entertaining us.

    Maybe it’s as simple as labor over owners…. who haven’t spent the money to field a team and hire hypocritical GM’s and Coaches who desperately hire the only people willing to work with them(Martz) no matter how contradictory their schemes. From a conceptual standpoint, we are a mess.

    Conversely, I know what Lance Briggs does. He makes plays and from my humble couch, deserves money that a Pro Bowl caliber player earns. It’s not like we have many of them on our team and we’ve given money to free agents that flat out suck.

  • flowermike

    Aaron did you just cry on your #54 jersey or are those drops from when you genuflect whenever you think of Uhrlacher?

    And I don’t read where anyone questioned him for not taking peoples heads off… projection my man, we were talking about Briggs.

    Briggs is our playmaker.

    I’m not sure about asking for more dough, but this lock out has galvanized one thought in my mind. I’m entertained by the players, not the ownership/management. The owners have no loyalty to the fans or the players. Players shelf lives are very short and they deserve the compensation for entertaining us.

    Maybe it’s as simple as labor over owners…. who haven’t spent the money to field a team and hire hypocritical GM’s and Coaches who desperately hire the only people willing to work with them(Martz) no matter how contradictory their schemes. From a conceptual standpoint, we are a mess.

    Conversely, I know what Lance Briggs does. He makes plays and from my humble couch, deserves money that a Pro Bowl caliber player earns. It’s not like we have many of them on our team and we’ve given money to free agents that flat out suck.

  • AaronT.Starks

    I learned a long time ago not to argue with children.

  • AaronT.Starks

    I learned a long time ago not to argue with children.

  • flowermike

    funny stuff aaron…

  • flowermike

    funny stuff aaron…

  • City

    @AaronT.Starks

    My comment was: 6 straight pro bowls isn’t an accident. Briggs IS an exceptional linebacker, and he has exceeded Urlacher in tackles 4 of the last 7 years. On any other team, he’s the biggest playmaker on the team. I honestly don’t know what you’re so emotional about Briggs’ situation, and I don’t know how you can ignore his consistently exceptional performance? And I don’t think you can say that Urlacher is significantly better than Briggs, or that Briggs benefits from Urlacher without it also being true that Urlacher benefits from Briggs.

  • City

    @AaronT.Starks

    My comment was: 6 straight pro bowls isn’t an accident. Briggs IS an exceptional linebacker, and he has exceeded Urlacher in tackles 4 of the last 7 years. On any other team, he’s the biggest playmaker on the team. I honestly don’t know what you’re so emotional about Briggs’ situation, and I don’t know how you can ignore his consistently exceptional performance? And I don’t think you can say that Urlacher is significantly better than Briggs, or that Briggs benefits from Urlacher without it also being true that Urlacher benefits from Briggs.

  • City

    @AaronT.Starks

    … says the child.

  • City

    @AaronT.Starks

    … says the child.

  • JoeyMarcantonio

    Trade for Asante Samuel?

    No. Horrible fit for the Tampa 2. The guy is a HORRIBLE tackler.

  • JoeyMarcantonio

    Trade for Asante Samuel?

    No. Horrible fit for the Tampa 2. The guy is a HORRIBLE tackler.

  • michelemorgan

    The new guy #56 did a great job on tackles last Sunday. Why not replace Briggs weith him. And trade Briggs.

  • michelemorgan

    The new guy #56 did a great job on tackles last Sunday. Why not replace Briggs weith him. And trade Briggs.

  • flowermike

    Michele morgan, nice thought but 55 is doing all the work.

    Pay the man.

  • flowermike

    Michele morgan, nice thought but 55 is doing all the work.

    Pay the man.