As Charles Tillman was wrapping up his one-year contract this week with the Bears, the mind drifted back almost exactly a year to when that scenario did not play out for Brian Urlacher, but should have.
Both Tillman and Urlacher were coming off recent soft-tissue injury histories, Tillman with knee and triceps, Urlacher from knee and hamstring. The Bears put a bag of money, their best offer, in front of Urlacher; he took it as an insult. They put a bag of money, their best offer, in front of Tillman; he took it.
Here’s the coincidence/irony: Urlacher wanted $3.5 million for the year. The Bears didn’t rate his play worth that; their bag o’cash held $2 million. It’s probably entirely coincidence, but that is just about exactly the amount ($3.4 million) they will pay Tillman for his final year.
For those who maintain that the Bears really didn’t want Urlacher back: As Brad Biggs over at the Tribune chronicled, Tillman’s deal comes with $750,000 in guarantees. The Bears were offering Urlacher $1 million guaranteed.