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Agent: Lance Briggs Seeking Trade

Six Straight Hawaii Appearances

NFL Network’s 92nd ranked player of the Top 100 in the NFL for 2011.

An impressive resume: three All-Pro selections, six consecutive Pro Bowl trips.

Meet Lance Briggs.  A disgruntled linebacker.

Re-visit the Greg Olsen situation, it’s the same route Briggs is going through, when you consider who’s his agent.

With a demand for a new deal, Lance’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has issued a formal request to explore a trade for the Bears Pro Bowl linebacker.

“The Bears made their decision, now I have to make mine,” Briggs told Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. “It’s just how the business works. It’s not going to take away from what I do on the field. I’m 100 percent.

Briggs recently approached the Bears about a pay raise, but higher ups have not changed their stance. Rosenhaus made the trade request through an email to contract negotiator Cliff Stein.

The Bears had no response on the matter Thursday, and their view on the trade request remains unclear. They are about $19.3 million below this season’s salary cap.

Briggs has three years left on his current contract and is ready to earn $3.9 million this season (including bonuses), $4 million in 2012 and $6.5 million in 2013. He inked a six-year, $36 million pact in 2008 after first diving into the free-agent waters, and the maximum value of the first three years was $21.6 million.

Briggs wants the Bears to re-work his contract in a way that would bump up his salary this season, possibly by rearranging he $3.9 million with the $6.5 million in the final campaign.

Briggs talked to the Bears after witnessing younger, less decorated linebackers around the league sign immensely rich contracts.

In comparison with a duo of veteran 4-3 outside linebackers – the Broncos’ D.J. Williams and the Jaguars’ Daryl Smith – Briggs, 30, has a valid bargaining place. Williams has a base salary of $4.9 million this season with three years left on his deal, while Smith’s base is $4.2 million with two years remaining. Both players are 29, and neither has been voted to Honolulu.

General manager Jerry Angelo opted not to address Briggs’ request when it was first brought up on Saturday. Briggs was looking to stall until after the season before targeting a trade but adjusted his plans after meeting with Angelo on Sunday.

“I understand and respect their decision,” Briggs said.

Coach Lovie Smith addressed Briggs’ contract status earlier this week:

“If a guy has something that he needs to do, then he can deal with it off the field,” Smith said. “As far as how I see him, I just see him coming to work every day, like he has done. Lance Briggs has to get ready for the football season, which he has done.

“Who doesn’t want a new contract? All of us would want a new contract. But still, you go to work every day and do your job, and that’s what he’s doing. I have no complaints about him.”

Briggs isn’t the first veteran linebacker to visit the team concerning a cash raise. Brian Urlacher was given a one-year extension three years ago, when he was 30, that included $18 million in new paper. Although, Urlacher is considered the face of the franchise.

Briggs has lead the team in tackles two of the last three seasons. He is one of four linebackers to be selected to six consecutive Pro Bowls in franchise history, joining Dick Butkus, Bill George and Mike Singletary.

Briggs, who is recovering from a knee bruise, promised to be prepared for the regular season.

Last season totals: 89 tackles (76 solo), two forced fumbles (one recovery), two interceptions, seven pass deflections, and seven tackles for loss.  The ’03 third-round pick missed only one game during the Bears NFC championship run.

Conclusion: The last time Rosenhaus approached the Bears seeking a trade, tight end Greg Olsen ended up in Carolina with a reward of a third-round draft pick.  As a result, it’s clear the Bears could receive a second-rounder, which is gold nowadays, for Briggs.  Yet, at its expense, a profound image would be left in the minds of veterans in the locker room (ie: Olin Kreutz).  However, Lance’s demands cannot linger any longer.  If they do continue to linger, the Bears will not get much for their linebacker; if do decide to trade him in the end.

It’s a sticky situation, where the Bears are forced to play the market and “hard ball” Briggs, and vice versa.  With Forte first in line for a new deal, what would it say to the talented running back, who’s handled his contract demands more appropriately and patiently, if Briggs get a deal done before him?

Ultimately, it’s very likely the club could see the Arizona product as more of a distraction off the field than a playmaker on the field.  If what he’s doing off the gridiron overshadows his production on it, then the eight-year tenure for the former Wildcat may be over in Chicago.



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One Response to “Agent: Lance Briggs Seeking Trade”

  1. […] To find out if Briggs holds any leverage and what the Monsters of the Midway should do next, visit Bears Gab […]

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