Posted by sportsmaven on March 7, 2007
I was reading Steve Rosenbloom’s blog this morning about the Thomas Jones trade and the Lance Briggs franchise issue and the more dissentious opinions I read in the media, the better I feel about the Bears approach with both situations. With Thomas Jones situation, the trade was inevitable when Cedric Benson started getting more carries and confidence in the second half of the Bears season. Benson has guaranteed money, is younger, and produced the same output as Jones with the exception of yards (only because he had half the carries.) The right move was to keep a promise to Jones by moving him. The Bears were not going to sign him to a long term deal. The talent levels are similar, in my opinion, with Benson having more upside (mainly because he is younger and bigger). Thomas Jones is a good back, but the NFL is a league full of good backs with more good backs coming from the college ranks.
I am actually excited to see if Adrian Peterson can step up and be the second back for the Bears. I think he can, he showed he can on the few drives he had this season (4.1 YPC and 2 TD’s) In the meantime, the Bears moved from the bottom of the second round to the top of the second round, where the talent level is much greater and saved $2.25M for next year’s salary cap to use elsewhere (the savings from Thomas Jones’ contract)
With Lance Briggs, the Bears are managing that to the letter of what the Collective Bargaining Agreement allows and managing to the best interest of the team. Briggs was reportedly offered a 6 year, $33M contract with $16M guaranteed before this season, but he declined with the full knowledge that the Bears have a franchise tag that they can use on him. The Bears indicated as such in those negotiations and followed through when the contract remained unsigned. Briggs’ strategy was to then attack Bears management and making statements that he will not play for the Bears next season, with the net effect of killing any trade hopes the Bears may have had from him this season. The phone at Halas Hall is not as much as ringing for a Lance Briggs trade, according to Brad Biggs article in today’s Chicago Sun-Times:
Briggs lambasted the organization Monday and said he has no desire to return under the franchise tag, which would pay him $7.206 million in 2007 — 10 times his salary from last season. Tough, was the general message Angelo sent back in Briggs’ direction. The Bears can’t actively seek to trade him under the terms of the franchise tag, but they can listen to overtures from other clubs. Angelo said no one has called.
I’m not sure which of the two paths that Briggs pursued is the worst. They are both bad, both incredibly stupid. What Briggs has essentially done with those two actions is GUARANTEE that he will be playing for the franchise salary of $7.2M next season unless he decides to complete the idiot troika of decisions and decides to sit out the 2007 season in protest. (This is a pure example of chasing bad decisions with more bad decisions). Finally, Briggs all about killed himself PR wise with his comments that this is not about money, but respect. It’s as if the fans he’s talking to on the radio are complete blithering idiots (which a lot of fans are) and don’t understand that it’s ALL about the money. If I were Lance Briggs, I would take a lesson from my ex-teammate and fellow Drew Rosenhaus client, Thomas Jones and follow his path. Play the year, play it well. The Bears may franchise you again next season, but may decide not to do that. Then you are free to go. Or you may sign a long term deal with the Bears.
Either way, I believe the Bears handled both situations perfectly, and for what they were. They didn’t panic and didn’t give in and just start spending unwise money (unlike the Atlanta Falcons, who are still a mess 8 years after their Super Bowl loss.)
Posted in Chicago Bears | Tagged: Adrian Peterson, Atlanta Falcons, Brad Biggs, Cedric Benson, Chicago Sun-Times, Drew Rosenhaus, Halas Hall, Lance Briggs, NFL, Steve Rosenbloom, Thomas Jones | Leave a Comment »
Posted by sportsmaven on March 5, 2007
The Chicago Bears continue their offseason overhaul by trading top RB Thomas Jones and their second round pick (#63 in the draft) to the New York Jets for the Jets 2nd round pick (#37). My buddy Stu in New York is estatic, actually called me on the phone tonight to let me know how happy he was. The Jets got a great deal, they picked up a starting quality RB and only gave up a few spots of draft order in the 2nd round of this year’s draft. Not sure if the Bears received good value on this trade, as I believe we could have also gotten a mid to late round pick as well if you just asked. In my opinion, this is a trade mainly for two reasons: first, to get a potential problem out of the locker room, and second, to serve as an example of making the hard decision not to overpay for talent that is available in other outlets.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
John Clayton from ESPN provides another tke on evaluating the Bears trade of Jones:
Bears moving up: If you are trying to figure out the Thomas Jones trade, it’s pretty simple. The Bears moved up 26 spots in the second round, getting a Jets pick at No. 37. That’s a prime position to get a borderline rookie starter or a quality prospect. Why would the Bears have to give up a second-round pick and Jones to get a second-round pick? The answer is simple. The market for veteran running backs is at best a third-round pick. The Bears wanted to get a second-round pick alone but they couldn’t. If you look at the draft value charts, the Bears gave up 280 points. That’s the equivalent of one of the final choices of the second round or a top choice in the third round. In other words, they got the best value possible for a 28-year-old running back.
My feeling on this trade or any other proposed trade is at this point, it really only benefits the Bears, especially in the situation with Jones. Thomas Jones is a good back. Is he great? Not at all, but very good, solid. The days of the single dominant RB’s are dwindling as more teams are starting to share the load with 2 solid RB’s. Worked very well for the Bears last season. Also worked well for the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, and Dallas Cowboys. By the way, all these teams were also playoff teams. So renegotiating Thomas Jones contract and meeting his needs were clearly out of the picture. Jones’ agent Drew Rosenhaus (who also happens to be Lance Briggs’ agent) is notorious for trying to get teams to renegotiate and it has worked well for him in the past. Sometimes not for his players, in terms of moving to teams that are far away from Super Bowl contention, but he does get his players paid.
Speaking of Lance Briggs, I know he is unhappy with the franchise tag, but that is the NFL. He blames the Bears and he states that he doesn’t want to play for this team anymore since they will not give him a long term deal (which hasn’t been fully played out yet). He is a victim of the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed by both the owners and Players Association. If you want to be mad, direct your anger to Gene Upshaw. The Bears are playing within the rules of the CBA. Lance Briggs was on ESPN Radio 1000 and WSCR 60 Chicago today making his case that it’s not about the money, but rather the respect. I think Lance Briggs just negotiated himself out of anything good happening in his favor out of this situation with his public radio comments.
The Bears have a unique chance as one of the favorites to go to the Super Bowl again next season. Lance is headed towards Todd Bell and Al Harris territory with this stance. If you are not about the money, but winning the Super Bowl, take the guaranteed $7.2M and play to win. This Chicago Bears team becomes a bit more uncertain after next season. Lance, we are not naive….we know it’s about nothing about the money. If you don’t want to be here in Chicago to win, fine. I think the Bears should trade you. You take your risks on that one. Maybe the Bears trade you to the Oakland Raiders, what do you think about that? You gonna sign that deal with that team? Maybe the Bears don’t trade you and you decide to sit out a season, then what? Do you do it all again next season with another potential franchise tag? Do you think the Bears are gonna trade you to the Colts, Patriots, Cowboys, or any other team that may contend for the Super Bowl? Unless they are bowled over with an offer, probably not.
This one might get even more ugly than it is now, and Lance, I’m afraid you are not negotiating from a position of strength. If I were the Bears, I would do exactly nothing in this situation. No trade, no release. Play for the $7.2M this season. Hold out of all OTA’s, hold out of all training camp if you like. Hold out the season. Who is the big loser in this scenario? Lance Briggs, that’s who. No play, no pay. Hold out a season, kiss a $12-14M signing bonus goodbye. Kiss $50M contract goodbye. And guess what, Lance? The Bears can franchise you again next season and we can do it all over again…..and for Drew Rosenhaus? He will be working on a new contract for Bears DT Tommie Harris, so he is not likely to get into any kind of long term pissing match with the Bears and risk losing a payday for another client who may be potentially even better than Lance Briggs. It appears it looks like a long two years for Mr. Briggs……
Posted in Chicago Bears | Tagged: Al Harris, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Drew Rosenhaus, ESPN, Gene Upshaw, Indianapolis Colts, John Clayton, Lance Briggs, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Super Bowl, Thomas Jones, Todd Bell, Tommie Harris, WSCR | 5 Comments »