I like the Chicago Bears. But one of the things the sports fan wrestles with almost daily is the idea that the players don't care as much about winning as we do. Lance Briggs, ladies and gentlemen, is not concerned withwinning.
Lance Briggs is never going to be remembered as one of the best linebackers to play the game. Never close. But Lance had the chance - by staying in Chicago for a boo-hoo-hoo 7.2 million dollars next year - to be part of a defense that could have lived forever in the history of a city and its team. He wouldn't have been Singletary. He would have been Wilson and Marshall combined. This team just left a Super Bowl and they'll be the conference favorite to get back there. Instead...
Mr. Briggs Goes to Washington and I don't wanna hear shit about respect from the organization or being "the man" on a team that just spent a fortune on London Fletcher. Briggs wants cash and he wants it now. And for that cash, he's more than willing to risk spending the next few years on one of the conferences five worst teams. He's more than willing to not sniff the playoffs or the Pro Bowl. He's than willing to lose as long as the Ferrari is parked out back.
So Lance, so long. Enjoy the money and - even more - enjoy the playoffs. You'll be able to purchase a 40 foot television for your new DC suburban mansion to watch the Bears play on. And you'll think to yourself, "Maybe I should have stayed in the city that loved me, with the team that drafted me..."
Two big stories emerge from yesterday:
1. There are reports that the Bears will trade Lance Briggs to the Redskins for a first-round swap, giving the Bears the sixth pick in this year's draft.
2. The Bears open in a nationally televised game at San Diego, which is arguably their most difficult game of the season.
I don't much care about the schedule but I will say this about the Briggs deal: MAKE IT...but try and snag a later pick as well. Lance doesn't want to play here so give him his wish. This move would enable the Bears to acquire Michigan DT Alan Branch and form one of the most fearsome sets of defensive tackles in the game. Not only that but Brady Quinn might be on the board too. Intrigue thy name is quarterback!
Anyway, this would make Day One of the draft a hell of a lot more fun. And isn't fun the thing?
Hey Midway, let's feel good tonight. First off I should say to all of you that I - as a Jersey guy - am a newcomer to NASCAR (along with Noah) and it is one of the most thrilling discoveries of my life. It is a terrific sport and I recommend it to everyone. Just don't pick Kasey "I only crash" Kahne as your favorite driver.
The Bears are doing some wonderful things this weekend. They signed Anthony Adams to a four-year deal. He's 26 and he's not great but he'll provide a terrific compliment to Tommie Harris for the next couple years. He's also not getting reamed in jail - which is a bonus for Bears defensive tackles.
The Bears didn't stop there! According to ESPN...
In other news, safety Tyrone Carter, who played for the Steelers the last three seasons, has signed a free-agent contract with the Bears, according to ESPN.com's John Clayton. It's a three-year deal worth $2.4 million, including a $280,000 signing bonus. The Bears also re-signed guard Ruben Brown to a one-year deal for $2.2 million.
The Brown re-signing is a damn good one. Ruben had a very nice year and he's got at least one more in the tank. I don't know much about Tyrone Carter but it does show that the team is focused on addressing NEEDS, safety being less of one with Tycar and Arch joining the fray.
Based on this stuff, look for Jerry and company to go offense heavy in the draft.
With David Carr now available for the taking, should the Bears be interested?
Carr is a young with a big-time arm and will have a better offensive line in Chicago than he's ever had in his career. He'll also be re-teamed with his number one target in college, Bernard Berrian.
In five years with Houston, he lost 56 games and never won over the team or its fans. He's got happy feet in the pocket, which most people attribute to his record-shattering sack totals.
I know what I think (yay) and what Pissed Off thinks (nay) - what do you think?
The Bears have traded what is believed to be a sixth round draft pick for Adam Archuleta, Washington Redskins safety. To read John Clayton's story, click here.
I was for this move a year ago and am for this move now. Archuleta will provide depth at safety but - more importantly - will place a certified run stopper on the back line. Anyone who watched the Bears post-Mike Brown's annual trip to IR knows it was their biggest defensive hole.
In one week, the Bears have acquired a good player and lost Justin Gage. Things are looking up!
I'm opening this one up to our readers because it's a question I haven't quite answered for myself yet. Where should the Bears go with the 31st and 37th picks of this year's draft?
I'm leaning towards offensive and defensive line but I'm nowhere near certain.
Justin Gage has signed a contract with the Tennessee Titans which means...and I'm welling up...Justin Gage will not be on the Chicago Bears in 2007.
The Titans also signed Bobby Wade last year and I believe that begs the question: are the Tennessee Titans out of their fucking minds?
Tank Johnson was sentenced to 120 days in prison. I guess this puts him out until sometime in July. I don't even know what to say about this . . . I mean, he deserves it. And he should be back by preseason. So, I guess I am happy. As long as Tank doesn't turn out like Jamal Lewis and come out of jail alot worse than when he went in.
From yesterday's Peter King column in Sports Illustrated:
I think Lance Briggs should not be mad at the Chicago Bears. He should be mad at Gene Upshaw and the players' union. One of the big reasons management made this deal on free agency in '93 with the players is because they got the ability to franchise-tag an important player once a year and pay him the average of the top five players at his position.
Every year, two or three players go nuts about being franchised. This year it's Briggs. It's like I say every year when this happens: If players are mad about the franchise tag (and Briggs is, because he sees stiffs like Leonard Davis getting huge signing bonuses when he gets zero to sign and a salary of $7.8 million), then he should get active in the union and try to repeal it. Or he should take the six-year, $35-million deal he was offered by the Bears, with lots more guaranteed money, and just deal with it.
This system isn't perfect. It still pays the high first-round picks a stupid, insulting amount of money. And when owners have money to spend under the cap, they're sure to make lesser players than Briggs way too rich. But the system, in general, has been a good one for players and owners over the past 14 years.
NOTE: I don't agree with King but understand his point. The Briggs-disrespect argument would hold much more water if he said something before free agency opened. He was franchised and stayed quiet for a week until the big contracts all over the league started springing up. It is money and it has always been money. But I don't trade him for less than a first round pick. The guy is too good.
The Reverend checks in on his beloved Chicago Bears from abroad.
Around the start of voluntary workouts I quit my job to travel the world. I started driving the US just before minicamps and no matter where my travels took me i made sure to find a place to every sunday for the Bears. I was astounded by Rexs first deep ball to Berrian in an Eagles bar in San Fran, I watched the dismantling of the Lions in the sports book of the MGM Grand. I checked into a hotel in Bangor Maine just to watch the Seahawks game cause the bars were closed and though i denied it awas the reasonI kept putting off the date of my departure for Europe just in case the Bears made the Superbowl. As I watched them crush the Saints in the only bar in the county that hadnt lost power in a freak accident I decided to fly back to NYC to watch the most important game of the last 20 years at the place where I had sweated through the tough times, Josies.
When the game ended I was sick and I crawled on plane the very next day, hungover, miserable and gutted. But even in a place that couldnt give two shits about the NFL I couldnt escape. I found myself in internet cafes across the UK checking to see if how things were with Lovie and Jerry, and if we were gonna franchise Briggs.
I landed in Marrakech Morocco to the news that Lovie was locked in and thats when I let my guard down. We werent gonna be active in free agency, our big question mark on D was franchised and the big one on offense wont get heated till the summer. Tommie seemed on schedule and what I read gave me cautious optimism that we were gonna work so,ething out with TJ. So I ride off on a camel into the dunes for a few days.
I return from the Sahara qnd the longest period i have gone without internet in five years go without sleep, endure an 8 hour trip to Fes with sand in every part of my body and sitting 4 deep in the backseat of a cab with a broken odometer just to fight my way through the maze of alleys to a slow cyber cafe with a goddamn arabic keyboard all to learn all in one crushing moment that Briggs says he wont play, Todd Johnson and Worrell , two solid performers and great assets for depth are gone AND WE LET OUR CONSECUTIVE SEASON 1000 YARD RUSHER, TEAM LEADER AND BEST BACK OF THIS POSTSEASON GO WITHOUT SO MUCH AS A GODDAMN DRAFT PICK.
Are you fucking kidding me! Pasqurelli can talk all he wants about the devaluation of backs but for two years he was our one constant on offense and we let him go to move up a few spots in the second round. Whoever signed off on that deal is, to borrow a phrase from my muslim hosts, the son of a mother who copulated with a pig while bleeding. Toss in the loss of Ian Scott, the inevitable Mike Brown injury, though I will always back him, and Benson making up for his four injury free seasons at Texas and its like Angelo is taking lessons from the owner in Major League. I am shocked, I am disgusted, I am ashamed.
The Bears may someday return to the Super Bowl, Inshallah, but right now to this musulman it feels like Allah is shitting on our heads.
If the best defense in Major League Baseball were to lose its starting catcher and center fielder for the season, their defensive ranking would slide further than the world's worst Shoots & Ladders player. This was what the Bears faced in 2006 when they watched perennial All-Pros Mike Brown and Tommie Harris bid their seasons farewell. What saved the Bears? Their depth at both positions.
That depth is gone.
In the past week, backup safeties Todd Johnson and Cameron Worrell have left Chicago behind and left serious question marks in the defensive backfield and special teams coverage units. At the same time, the Bears have shown no interest in retaining the services of Ian Scott or Alfonso Boone, while Johnny Law has decided he wants Tank Johnson behind bars. Tommie Harris might need the other starting defensive tackle to wear a name tag come September.
The Bears actually find themselves in a needier position entering the 2007 draft than they did in 2006 - almost illogical for a team coming off a Super Bowl appearance. With the 31st and 37th picks at the end of April, the Bears can not afford the luxury of taking developmental projects. They need big bodies on both sides of the line and someone to play Mike Brown's position when he goes on IR in November.
Say what you want (and I have) about losing Thomas Jones and pissing off Lance Briggs, at least there are still terrific players at those positions. How can you say the same for safety and d-tackle?
"You have to remember...this is a business" -White GMs
The NFL is a business. And business is booming. But I for one am sick to my stomach with the tired old stench of a mantra that eminates not only from Halas Hall but every other team office around the league: this is a business. Is it?
The case-in-point will always be Terrell Owens. T.O. didn't want to go to Baltimore. He wanted Philly. Philly took him away from Baltimore. T.O. evil. Philly...not. T.O. takes reduced salary to play in Philly and gives a heroic, career-risking performance in the Super Bowl. He asks for a deserved raise. Philly says no. T.O. evil. Philly not. Why? Because this is a business for the teams (not the players) and "the player" signed a contract. A CONTRACT WHICH THE EMPLOYER CAN TERMINATE AT ANY TIME FOR ANY REASON THEY SEE FIT. Excuse me? What business operates like that? Meanwhile T.O. has never had an off-field issue in his long career and I believe Andy Reid has thankfully removed himself from Father of the Year contention. This might seem an unfair comment but it makes you re-adjust what your value system really is as a fan. T.O may be a dick but if the Reid family moves to my neighborhood, I've got four words for you: For Sale By Owner.
No one is going to argue that Lance Briggs should complain about earning 7.2 million dollars this season. And - believe me - he's not. But what happens if Lance Briggs tears his MCL in the 2007 postseason and has to spend the following year recovering? After all we're talking about football - where not getting injured is becoming the rarity. Lance has done what every fan has asked of their athletes over the ten plus years of big time, post A-Rod contracts: he's earned it. The Bears have the upper-hand and the same old arguement. It is so easy to get the fans on your side when the player makes so much money - to instill the rallying cry of "I'll take 7 million dollars!" Meanwhile the Bears remain 20 million under the cap. But I pay to see guys like Briggs and right now I'd like to see Briggs paid.
The Bears traded their best offensive weapon yesterday. It's over now. I can preach to the high heavens from my blog pulpit about how they didn't get nearly enough (they didn't) but it seems to be futile with fans in an unexpected post-Super Bowl euphoria. Don't look now but the Bears of 2007 have started about as poorly as a sports franchise can. They lowballed a winning head coach and retreated faster than Napolean crossing the Russian border. They franchised a great linebacker and have seen their organization tarnished in the national media. They traded the shoulders which carried this offense through the most exciting two-game period for Bears fans in twenty years: the NFC playoffs.
But today is about Cedric Benson. A combination of fragility and toughness, bruiser and emotionally bruised, Benson has found himself where he always wanted to be...where he would have been if not for an extensive rookie season holdout. He is the man in the Chicago Bears backfield. As the scrutiny on the maligned signal caller will intensify week-by-week, the pressure on the ball carrier will grow at the same rate. Benson wanted it. Benson got it. The effective two-back rotation that rolled this team into the Super Bowl is now a memory - a banner in Soldier Field that reads 2006 NFC Champion.
Benson has to work to do. He was to win over his teammates - most of whom viewed TJ as a brother. He was to win over the fans who barely know him at all. He has to beat the injury bug which has claimed his at terrible times each of his first two seasons.
Here's my prediction: 1500 yards and 15 touchdowns. That may sound like a cockeyed optimist but I believe in this kid's talent and - more importantly - his will. This season Cadillas Williams and Ronnie Brown will become trivia questions for the casual NFL fan, "Which backs were taking before this guy?" No, the Bears didn't get nearly enough for Thomas Jones but in Benson they've got a genuine football star. The longer he stays on the field, the longer the Bears will play into January 2008.
The Bears have reportedly traded Thomas Jones to the Jets. They'll be swapping 2nd round picks.
I am literally sick to my stomach. They move up in a round in exchange for the leader of an already shaky offense. The 2007 Chicago Bears will now enter the season without their most productive offensive weapon and most likely without their most productive defensive weapon - Lance Briggs.
And I'm supposed to continue to cheer this team with a smile? Bitter Jeff is back. And the Jets should be roundly applauded for stealing a brilliant player.
This article on ESPN.com by Pasquarelli contains the most stirring indictment of the Chicago Bears organization since Jim McMahon. Lance Briggs doesn't just want to burn the bridge as he leaves town...he wants to re-ignite the great Chicago fire.
My only comment is he's right but the Bears must do everything possible - from Lovie to Jerry to Ted to the McCaskey family - to make Lance happy and keep him here. This is a great football player who belongs on this defense. Sign him and sign him long-term and pay him what he wants.
Jeff: Hi, everybody. My name is Jeff and I'm a Bears fan. It's been about one month since I last watched Sportscenter.
All: Hi, Jeff.
Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to announce my return to DaBearsBlog and apologize for the bitter, angry Jeff. That Jeff is dead...long live Jeff!
Here's some thoughts on the opening of Free Agency yesterday:
1. The Bears are right to stay the hell out of it. When Nate Clements becomes the richest defensive player in the history of the sport, the apocalypse can't be far behind. Nate Clements? Who's next, Walt Harris?
2. The Dre Bly trade is not a win for Detroit because Tatum Bell stinks and he's always hurt. Outside of Shaun Rogers and Roy Williams, Dre was the best player ON THAT TEAM. Now he's gone to Denver where - very quietly I might add - they have Dre and Champ at the two corner spots. That's the best pair of corners in the league and it isn't close.
3. Hey Jamal Lewis is a free agent! Anyone? Anyone? Going once...
4. I agree with jdawg when he says playmaker is the key word for the Bears in this draft. Des Clark is darn good tight end but he doesn't scare teams in the middle of the field and he can't pull a corner out wide. I hate Miami tight ends but Greg Olsen doesn't seem to be a moron (Winslow) or a dick (Shockey). If the Bears are serious...make a deal, move up and get him.
More to come...good to see you all again.
And so it got done. A contract that stole the pre-Super Bowl spotlight and post-Super Bowl shiva is now in the books and Lovie Smith has climbed the economic coaching ladder faster than one of New York's Bravest saving a kid from the 17th floor. The first Bears coach to win back-to-back division titles since the inventor of pot roast nachos (winner of my best appetizer of 2006) is primed to be with us for an awful long time.
And so we move on. Jerry Angelo's extension has actually guaranteed he'll be choosing the players for this team long after Brian Urlacher's bust is sitting in Canton. (I guess people really like Devin Hester and Mark Anderson) Now the question is simple: how do we make this Super Bowl team better?
Free Agency opens tomorrow but don't expect the Bears to be belly-flopping into the deep end of the pool. They have needs, sure, but the 2007 Chicago Bears will be marked and marred by #8. Everything else is the condiments. Both of these extensive extensions show not only a confidence in the coach and GM but an overwhelming belief that Grossman is the answer. Smith and Angelo have hitched themselves to Rex's wagon and brought us along for the ride. Even after his Super Bowl disaster their support has been unwavering.
My sincere hope is that Rex is the answer but I don't believe it for a second. Lovie and Jerry have done a fine job resurrecting a proud yet dead franchise but their stubbornness may ultimately be their undoing. Another year watching a quarterback develop may have worked fine in 1991 but in the new NFL - the window closes faster than it opens. My biggest fear is we're sitting here next February with the same worries, the same concerns, listening to the same tired mantra: "Rex is our quarterback."
Let's hope we're not doing the same in 2011.
Is now upon us...
They're getting a lot of money and all I have to say is this...
We expect a championship. You've got the players. Make it happen.
Win it all.
Nothing else to add right now.