Tilting at the Rumor Mill

| March 3rd, 2010

It’s a journalistic trick, you see?  Something New York baseball writers have been doing to the Mets for a decade.

The Chicago Tribune comes out with a report that Bears management has met with the agent of Julius Peppers and the city of Chicago begins bursting with the hope that a notoriously frugal franchise is moving into the modern financial era.  (Though that phrase feels a bit wrong in the current economic climate.)
The Sun-Times, not to be outdone, allows Neil Hayes to report that an anonymous NFL source is wagering steak dinners that Brandon Marshall will end up in a Bears uniform.  The loser now will be later to win. For the times they are a-changin’.
Ignore it.  All of it.  Might the Bears make a big splash in the coming month?  God willing.  But if fans start believing every third-rate rumor that channels out of Indianapolis and Adam Schefter and (gulp) Neil Hayes, they’ll wind up with Peyton Manning and the Lions first-round draft pick.  Remember the following: (1) Julius Peppers is going to cost the McCaskey family between 12-15 million dollars a year.  They would be initiating the most lucrative contract in the history of the organization.  (2) Brandon Marshall is one of the top three receivers in the sport.  He’s a pain in the ass but he’s remarkable.  There are going to be fifteen teams that want his services and all fifteen teams will have better draft-pick compensation to offer.  
We all want these players and there’s nothing wrong with crossing your fingers and hitting refresh on ProFootballTalk every couple hours.  The Bears should be creative and should find ways to get these deals done.  But to expect them to make these moves is to be naive and plays directly into the hands of a media waiting to pounce the organization for standing pat.
And keep in mind the worst fact of all.  Any move that does not work out in 2010 will become the problem of entirely new leadership in 2011.