ESPN has reported that the Bills have traded "disgruntled" defensive tackle Darwin Walker to the Bears for a fifth round draft pick next year. CLICK HERE for more info.
As terribly as this offseason began, it has ended brilliantly. All draft picks in camp on time. Contract extensions for the starting corners. Lance Briggs will play a full 16. Anthony Adams and now Darwin Walker have been brought in to solidify the middle of the defensive line.
Only thing left to do is fly to San Diego and play the goddamn Chargers.
...that Tavaris Jackson is starting at quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings this season? Did I miss something? That guy sucks.
Check out this story from John Clayton and it's pretty obvious than Mr. Jackson won't be the starter come October 1st. The sub-headline: Brooks Bollinger on Alert. Did anyone think to tell the folks up in Minnesota that neither of these boys is a solid option at the most important position in the game?
Once again, the Bears have no excuse not to win this division.
Lance Briggs has signed a one-year deal with the Bears, solidifying one of the league's finest defenses and continuing a tidal wave of good work by Jerry Angelo this off-season. He stuck to his guns on this one and it paid dividends.
The following is the story by Lenny P on ESPN.com:
Two-time Pro Bowl weakside linebacker Lance Briggs, who was unable this spring to reach a long-term deal with the Chicago Bears as a designated franchise player, on Wednesday agreed to sign the one-year qualifying offer of $7.206 million that accompanies the tag, and report to camp on Thursday.
Chicago will advance Briggs, who had earlier threatened to sit out until the 10th week of the season, $1 million of the $7.206 million. More important, the Bears have agreed that they will not use a franchise marker in 2008 on Briggs, to again limit his mobility, provided that he participates in 75 percent of the defensive snaps this season. Briggs, 26, has averaged nearly 90 percent of the defensive snaps the past three years.
So if Briggs remains healthy through the season, and reaches the same playing time levels that he has in recent seasons, Chicago will not be able to keep him off the unrestricted free agent market next spring.
"Lance decided it was in his best interests, and those of the Bears, to play football in 2007, and to be in camp on time preparing to do so," agent Drew Rosenhaus said Monday evening. "He wants to create the most positive atmosphere possible for himself, and he did not want this to be a distraction to the team. It's a good compromise for everyone involved."
A four-year veteran, Briggs has chafed much of the offseason at being designated as the Bears' franchise player. After rejecting a seven-year, $33 million contract extension last spring, Briggs had sought a long-term deal again in recent months. Bears officials, though, were steadfast in maintaining that they would not offer a multiple-year deal, and that Briggs' lone option was to sign the franchise tender.
Chicago balked at a long-term deal for Briggs, in part because the Bears' organization has already committed $6 million-$7 million per year to five-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Brian Urlacher. Although the Bears invested heavily to sign both starting cornerbacks, Nathan Vasher and Charles Tillman to long-term deals within the past month, the club did not place a similar priority on the linebacker position.
The Bears' coaches also feel that a pair of young linebackers, second-year veteran Jamar Williams and rookie Michael Okwo, could soon be ready to move into the lineup. Both are projected as potential replacements for Briggs at weakside linebacker if he departs after the 2007 campaign.
Rosenhaus said that his client considered accepting the same arrangement from the Bears -- a one-year deal with the promise that the franchise tag wouldn't be used again in '08 -- earlier in the spring. But Briggs held out some hope that a trade could be consummated, and the Bears did negotiate with the Washington Redskins on a deal in March and April. The two sides were unable, though, to consummate a trade.
When he was in Chicago negotiating a contract for first-round tight end Greg Olsen three weeks ago, Rosenhaus re-opened dialogue with Chicago general manager Jerry Angelo about Briggs, and talks continued, finally resulting in Wednesday's accommodation.
"Once we got beyond the July 16 deadline [for franchise players to sign multi-year deals]," Rosenhaus said, "this was the best option. At that point, the Bears couldn't sign Lance to a long-term contract, and neither could any other team that acquired him in a trade. And so we tried to make this work, because, under that scenario, he wanted to remain with the Bears. And it's been my experience that players who hold out from camp tend to not play as well. This allows Lance to have another great season, and then we'll see what happens."
The agreement with Briggs means that just one of the original seven franchise players this year, New England cornerback Asante Samuel, does not have a contract.
Three of the players -- Indianapolis defensive end Dwight Freeney (six years, $72 million), New Orleans defensive end Charles Grant (seven years, $63 million) and Detroit defensive tackle Cory Redding (seven years, $49 million), signed long-term contracts. In addition to Briggs, Cincinnati defensive end Justin Smith ($8.64 million) and Seattle kicker Josh Brown ($2.078 million) signed their one-year tenders. Neither Brown nor Smith elicited from their teams a stipulation precluding use of the franchise tag again in 2008.
Debate between the Bears and Briggs grew heated at times this spring, with the linebacker telling ESPN.com at one point that he would never play for the team again. He eventually softened that stance, but then adopted the position that he would not report until the 10th week, which would still permit him to gain a season toward the pension plan.
A former University of Arizona standout, Briggs was chosen by the Bears in the third round of the 2003 draft. He earned a starting job as a rookie, emerged by his third season as one of the NFL's top young weakside linebackers, and was chosen for the Pro Bowl in each of the past two seasons.
In 64 games, Briggs, one of the game's best all-around weakside 'backers, has 441 tackles, 3 Ã‚Â½ sacks, six interceptions, 29 passes defensed, seven forced fumbles and three recoveries.
The following is from ESPN.com:
At one point, Lance Briggs said he would never play for the Chicago Bears again. That stance may be a thing of past.
The Chicago Tribune reported that as of Tuesday night, there were strong indications the two sides were coming close to an agreement that would end a messy contract dispute and land Briggs in training camp on time.
According to the paper, Briggs' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and the Bears have continued to negotiate even after the July 16 deadline for working out long-term contracts with franchise players. After a visit to Halas Hall last month, Rosenhaus said he had made some creative proposals to the team. But due to league rules, the sides can only agree to a one-year deal after the deadline.
The paper reported that one option was paying Briggs up front a large portion of the $7.2 million one-year contract the team tendered -- that would serve as a smaller signing bonus.
The Bears also have reportedly offered to rescind the franchise tag on Briggs for 2008 if he agrees to end the contract stalemate.
Reached by the newspaper on Tuesday night, Briggs declined to comment. But a teammate told the paper that Briggs had decided to sign and avoid a holdout.
Rosenhaus did not respond to inquiries by The Tribune.
COMMENTARY: I've said it before that I believe Lance Briggs will be in uniform Week One in San Diego and if Jerry and company make this happen, the Bears should enter the 2007 season as the prohibitive favorite to reach the Super Bowl from the NFC. Feels like momentum has shifted in the right direction the last few weeks, doesn't it?
My relationship with Charles "Peanut" Tillman has been a tumultuous one from the beginning. And the Golden Girls do it right. Whenever they want to spend a thirty minute episode reflecting on a theme - they sit at the kitchen table with some cake and show us clips. I'm at my table. I've got my cake. Here are the clips.
FROM SEPTEMBER 26, 2006THE RISE AND FALL OF CHARLES "PEANUT" TILLMAN
"I remember when rock was young. Me and Suzie had so much fun." -Bernie Taupin
He became a Chicago Bear in the Soldier Field endzone on December 14th 2004. Daunte Culpepper threw what he'd thrown a million times - a ball in the direction of Randy Moss. And there was the kid from Louisiana-Lafayette, who'd had the terrific rookie season just a year earlier, wrestling the ball away and sealing a Bears victory. This play not only made him immortal in my eyes, it seemed to have symbolically ended the Culpepper/Moss dream and ushered in a new era in the NFC North.
Then comes Detroit in 2005. A bad Jeff Garcia throw in overtime, a Peanut TD, Defensive Player of the Week. So...what the fuck happened?
No, seriously, what happened? Because since then, he's just sucked. He's become the football equivalent of an only child. The parents hear the crash in the living room, they know who did it. Flag for unnecessary roughness? Flag for pass interference? Guess who? He falls down (literally) on big plays and collapses (mentally) on just about every other. Yes he had five interceptions a year ago but that is more a testament to opposing offenses refusing to throw in anyone else's direction. It's a near-meaningless stat, like a lot of football stats. Kyle Orton had 10 wins last year, remember? Stats aren't for football.
I write this today because Sunday night, in Primetime, the Chicago Bears need the Peanut from December 14th 2004. They need him because in the absence of a sustained running game, the Hawks are going to bring three and four receiver sets. Nut is going to be face-to-face with Deion Branch...with Nate Burleson. This is the sort of game that defines a season, especially with four winnable games following (home Buffalo, at Cardinals, home Niners, home Dolphins). A win Sunday night and the Bears could be staring down the barrel of 8-0.
But I'm putting the game on Charles Tillman. Yes, that's what I'm doing. One game, Nut. One game and I'll buy your jersey. One game and I'll write you sonnets.
One game, Nut, one game. Because I'm telling you right now...Mike Holmgren watches film. He's seen you run around like a moron out there. Right now he's eating his third large sandwich for lunch and saying, "This Tillman guy sucks." Right now, I agree.
You get one game. Don't suck anymore.
FROM NOVEMBER 13, 2006
33 WAYS TO SAY I LOVE YOU
Last night was not about Rex Grossman, playing the biggest game of his life on the biggest night of his life. Last night was not about Mark Bradley, playing Justin Gage FINALLY onto the practice squad. Last night was not about Mushin Muhammad, earning 12 of his 13 million. Last night was not about Alex Brown, dominating the second half and overwhelming the 137 year-old Bob Whitfield.
Last night was about Charles "Peanut" Tillman. Last night he became my new favorite Chicago Bear.
Why, you might ask. Why oh why would you say such things about a man you've killed so many times, using adjectives like "fucking stupid" and "goddamn fucking stupid"? Because Plaxico Burress dared the Bears to use man coverage. Because I sat in the stadium last night and watched the Bears do just that with one man. One man. And he wore #33. Because 60 minutes, 48 yards and an interception later...Charles Tillman made me proud. The way Mr. Clark feels proud of Sams when he turns things around in Lean on Me. Charles Tillman played the kind of defensive football game that has written the legacy of the Chicago Bears.
And next week and going forward...I'm in his corner. He's my guy. Don't fuck with him.
Ladies and gentlemen, Chicago Bear until the year 2013...Charles Tillman
Forget for a few minutes about Michael Vick and the dogs. Forget for a couple seconds about Lance Briggs and his impending contract holdout. Forget for just an instance about the dozens of former NFL players struggling to survive injuries sustained during their football careers. Forget if only for a moment about all the things that take away from the greatest game on earth.
Forget these things because in four days the Chicago Bears will report to training camp in Bourbonnais. They'll report to training camp to start playing football. Remember football? It's that wacky thing the players do between driving drunk and murdering defenseless animals. Football starts in four days and I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't more excited for this camp than any other in my lifetime. The Bears played in the Super Bowl just six months ago and looking around the rest of the NFC...I don't see any reason they can't get back.
Football starts in four days. Football. The reason this site exists and the reason so many of you have come to visit us over the last couple years. Right now the game has a cloud darker than the worst of David Lynch's imagination hanging over each and every stadium but it has a single indefatigable recourse against the impending storm: the game. The game is good. It is tough and violent and dangerous, yes, but no one will ever convince me it isn't good. The game will overcome the idiots and jerkoffs allowed to play it because that's what great games do. Football is a great game.
For those of us non-season ticket holders, Bears tickets go on sale Saturday. It is a slow period here as the Bears prepare for training camp, so this is basically all I have to report.
Once again, Noah and I are planning to be in Chicago for the December 2nd game versus the Giants and will hopefully be hosting a Saturday night party at Rossi's on North State. We'd love for some of ya'll to be there.
As the next few weeks pass this site will become a fan forum on the issues set to face our beloved Bears as they enter the 2007 season with their highest expectations since 1986. Let's take the next few days to compile a list of issues that interest YOU so we can focus our attention.
Here are the five major points of of interest as I see them:
PUT ON THE RED SHOES AND LANCE THE BLUES
Where is Lance Briggs and - more importantly - will he be in San Diego on opening day? The linebacking unit goes from the team's primary strength to its most glaring question mark without the presence of the brilliant Pro Bowl player. Tracking Briggs' whereabouts will be priority number one.
DEVIN CAN'T WAIT
How will the Devin Hester experiment play out on the offensive side of the football? Will the Bears be looking at their version of Reggie Bush - the man defenses have to gameplan against? Or will Hester join the ranks of Dante Hall as a once dominant kick returner-turned-mediocre wideout?
HOW MANY SAFETIES DOES IT TAKE TO CHANGE A LIGHTBULB?
With the addition of Adam Archuelta, the Bears look stacked at safety. What's will AA bring to the secondary and can his pressure style co-exist with the similarly talented Mike Brown?
HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLFE
Word is already starting to circulate regarding Garret Wolfe's dynamic pass catching ability out of the backfield. Will he supplant AP as the #2 man and be the change of pace back a bruiser like Cedric Benson will require?
It is what it is, Pissed Off, and the whole Bears universe will be watching Rex throughout training camp. If he struggles with accuracy and consistency, the START GRIESE chants will be overwhelming come opening weekend. If he develops and matures, the burnt and navy may very well have a man capable of being the future and the weakest position in the sports universe - quarterback for the Chicago Bears.
I know I'm late on this...been crazy of late...but I wated to congratulate Jerry Angelo on signing his free agents this offseason. Greg Olsen wasn't just the first top round pick to sign...he was the first top two round pick to sign.
Good work. Bring on camp.
Hey guys, Noah again. Got an email this weekend from some ESPN The Magazine writer's who are working on a story about sports fandom. Here's the email:
Having grown up in St. Louis and now residing in L.A., we're both big NFL fans but are currently NFL orphans. We're each trying to find a team to give our respective loyalties, and are going around the league talking to teams, fans, etc. in an effort to get a "pitch" to join that squad's fanbase. Essentially, we're treating it like Match.com for sports. The idea, in the end, is to explore what it means to be a fan, what goes in to it, what is important to fans, etc.
Anyway, beyond talking to players, coaches, front office personnel, we're very much interested in connecting with real fans, bloggers, etc. of every team. We'd love to talk to you and learn the benefits and appeal of being a Bears fan, and what it's like to be part of that "family," but also would appreciate any leads and suggestions you have to get into touch with other big Bears superfans or community icons- say the owner of a great Chicago sportsbar (should be a few to choose from) or a longtime season ticket holder, for example. Any ideas you have that are connected to the Chicago football community are welcome. I know how passionate Bears fans are.
Anyway, I told the guys I would post that and get some feedback. Leave a comment with the "benefits and appeal of being a Bears fan, and what it's like to be part of that 'family'." And if any of you know (or are) superfans or community icons (or know them), mention that too.