The Bears avoided another possible contract dispute when they agreed to a 1 year contract extension with perennial Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs. It keeps Briggs in the Orange and Blue through 2014. It ends the rumors that Briggs could be traded to the Giants for Osi Umenyiora.
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it’s expected that the deal gives Briggs some more up-front money. Here’s Brad Biggs on Brigg’s last deal and this one likely shakes out:
Briggs signed a $36 million, six-year contract in 2008 when he was an unrestricted free agent. The Bears had controlled him the previous season with the franchise tag, and when he entered the open market there were not a multitude of offers like he expected.
The deal was frontloaded with $22 million in the first three seasons. The big roster bonuses were all paid out and Briggs made only $3.65 million last season. He had just $10 million remaining on the contract as he was due to earn $3.75 million this season and $6.25 million in 2013.
Now, Briggs will likely get bonus money this year and the Bears will control his rights through 2014, when he will be 34.
Briggs had made his unhappiness about his contract situation well known last offseason, joining Matt Forte in the disgruntled player’s lounge. New Bears GM Phil Emery is excited about the move:
“We’re very excited for Lance and for the Bears,” said general manager Phil Emery. “Lance has been a very valuable and productive member of our team; seven straight Pro Bowls is quite a record of success. This is a very positive step for our team in our efforts to win championships.”
It’s the right move for the Bears to make given their lack of depth at the linebacker position. It also seems like it’s a little salt in Matt Forte’s wound, who continues to pout and has yet to sign his franchise deal and is expected to miss offseason workouts, which start on Monday.
This also opens the door to start discussing another couple of key extensions that are on the horizon for Phil Emery and the Bears. Brian Urlacher is up at the end of this season and Jay Cutler is coming due after next year. After Urlacher just announced he wants to end his career as a Bear, the pressure will be on to keep him around.
When will Briggs start complaining about this deal? Middle of 2013? What do you think of the deal?
With all that new paper, I see a new Lamborghini in Briggs’ future.