Briggs: Contract demands aren't just about me

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Briggs: Contract demands aren't just about me

Friday, Sept. 9, 2011
Posted: 8:41 a.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
Lance Briggs isnt in the mood to talk anymore about his contract situation. But he isnt ruling out something ultimately happening between the Bears and himself.

I dont know, Briggs said on ComcastSportsNets Countdown to Kickoff show. My focus is really on playing football. Ive handled the business part and well see what happens in the future. Now Ive just got to go out and play ball.

The Bears have done in-season extensions for players under contract: Jay Cutler, Brian Urlacher, Olin Kreutz, Matt Toeaina, among others. Briggs, with three years remaining on his current contract, did not get his desired response from the Bears on two occasions when he approached the team.

One scenario conceivably could be Briggs situation being revisited if he continues to play at the Pro Bowl level he has produced for six straight seasons.

Its all about production and thats the way youre judged in the NFL, said Tom Thayer, former Bear and current WBBM-AM color commentator. If you are producing above your salary with a lot of expectations on your shoulders, then it gives you the right to go in and ask for a renegotiation. Lance has done everything the Bears have ever asked of him.

Briggs also has done what he believes a team leader should do for teammates: Take a position and do it publicly if it can be a means of calling attention to what he views as similar situations elsewhere in his locker room.

One of the things that I know, by going to the public and doing what I did, I know Im going to catch a lot of flak, Briggs said. Ill be a man about it. But when youre a leader of the team, youre also a voice. If I have an opportunity to be a voice, no matter how much heat Im going to take, Im going to do it.

Its bigger than just my issue. Its Matt Forte, its Chris Harris, its Israel Idonije. Theres a lot of players on the Bears that help us win a championship.

Briggs doubtless was watching the New Orleans Saints take on the Green Bay Packers Thursday night. That meant was seeing Kreutz snap the ball to Drew Brees.

Given that the Bears signed Chris Spencer to a two-year contract worth as much as 6 million, Briggs isnt sure why Kreutz isnt in Chicago getting ready to play the Atlanta Falcons as a Bear.

No disrespect to Chris Spencer, because I really like the guy and Im glad hes an addition to our team, Briggs said. But for the price they brought Chris Spencer in and number of years, I dont see any why Olin Kreutz, who is a one-of a kind leader for us...Why not just keep Olin? Its not my decision but I didnt quite understand that completely. Maybe it was time to let go.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Good or better? Why offseason moves are making 2017 Bears better

Good or better? Why offseason moves are making 2017 Bears better

Improvement typically comes in incremental steps, not leaps. And the Bears of 2017, based on what they have done at a handful of positions, the latest being Thursday’s signing of wide receiver Victor Cruz, fit that template.

The clear organizational commitment is to build through the draft, even if injuries have undermined some otherwise apparent upgrades to starting lineups on both sides of the football. But if there is a “theme” to what GM Ryan Pace is doing to muscle up a sluggish roster, it is that the Bears are willing to take flyers on veteran players – with additions like four veteran wide receivers with injury and issue histories – that arguably point to a win-now mindset while draft picks develop and contribute.

Jaye Howard and John Jenkins. Make the defensive line “better?” Than Jonathan Bullard and Will Sutton, probably. But “good?” Mmmmm…..

The game-one tight ends last year were Zach Miller-Logan Paulsen-Gregg Scruggs. Now they’re Miller-Dion Sims-Adam Shaheen (based on a second-round draft choice). “Good?” Maybe, maybe not. “Better?” Obviously, based on Sims alone.

Mike Glennon-Mark Sanchez-Mitch Trubisky. Bears “better” at quarterback? Than Jay Cutler-Brian Hoyer-Matt Barkley, probably. “Good?” Mmmmmm…..

The decisions to sign Glennon and Sanchez to the quarterback depth chart have sparked their shares of understandable cynical skepticism. But Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garoppolo were not available in trade, so the Pace decision was to gamble on upside with Glennon over the known quantity of Brian Hoyer (the preference of some coaches) and certainly Jay Cutler, for whom “potential” and “upside” no longer applied.

Add in the aggressive draft of Trubisky and the result was three possibilities of hits on a quarterback (Sanchez and Connor Shaw being combined here as a pair entry in the hit-possibility scenarios). All three were deemed an improvement over Cutler and/or Barkley.

The results may not vault the Bears all the way up to “good” at the pivotal position for any franchise. But “better” is sometimes all you can realistically manage.

Taking a wider-screen look at wide receiver in this context… .

Coach John Fox has cited the need for the Bears to establish the ability to get yardage in bigger chunks. Accordingly, all four of the veteran wideout signings this offseason – Cruz, Rueben Randle, Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright –  have posted yards-per-catch seasons of 14 or longer.

All four won’t be on the opening-day roster, but all four offer the promise of major impact. Cruz, Randle and Wright have had seasons of 70 or more receptions, and Wheaton topped out at 53 in 2015 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Jerry Rice weren’t available, so “good” was hard to achieve in an offseason in which Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal were expected departures long before their exits. But are Cruz, Randle, Wheaton and Wright, with Kevin White and Cameron Meredith, a “better” starting point than Jeffery, Royal, White, Bellamy, etc. of a year ago?

Obviously. But players with even moderately established NFL “names” (like Cruz, Randle, etal.) are typically available for a reason; teams do not routinely give up on talent. And none of the four come without significant shadows on their NFL resumes, whether for injury or other questions.

Cruz missed most of 2014 and all of the 2015 season, and hasn’t played a full season since his Pro Bowl year of 2012.

Randle was described as a head case by scouts and was so bad that he was let go in the Eagles’ cutdown to 75 last year, followed by disparaging comments from those in and around the organization.

Wheaton flashed promise in his 2014-15 opportunities as a part-time starter but played just three games before a shoulder injury landed him on IR last season.

The Tennessee Titans thought enough of Wright, their 2012 first-round draft choice, to pick up his fifth-year option going into las season. But by week 14 he was benched for tardiness and was a healthy DNP in game 16, announcing after the game that he already knew he was not in the Titans’ plans for 2017.

The prospect of the Bears going from 3-13 to “good” borders on fantasy. But if being among the NFL’s busiest this offseason hasn’t propelled the Bears to that level, the results point to “better.” At this point, that’s something,.

How big of an impact will Victor Cruz have on the Bears?

How big of an impact will Victor Cruz have on the Bears?

The Bears inked Victor Cruz to a one-year deal on Thursday, adding another receiver to an already crowded corps.

But it never hurts to add a veteran one to a young group, especially with a new starting quarterback.

Cruz is 30 years old and isn't the same Pro Bowl-caliber player he was before missing the entire 2015 season with a calf injury, but he surely has a lot left in the tank and can serve as a great mentor for the Bears receivers.

Just how big of an impact will he have on his new team? See what the SportsTalk Live panel had to say in the video above.