Chicago Bears: Were They Smart to Extend Lance Briggs?

Michael GibbonsCorrespondent IIApril 14, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 18:  Lance Briggs #55 of the Chicago Bears celebrates a defensive stop against the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field on December18, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Seahawks defeated the Bears 38-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

On Wednesday the Bears extended one of their disgruntled Pro Bowlers.

No, it wasn't Matt Forte. It was actually seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs, who had requested a trade before the start of the 2011 season.

Briggs had two years remaining on the deal he signed in 2008 that was worth $36 million. The extension adds one year to the deal, which means Briggs could potentially end his career in a Bears uniform.

Remember when he said in March of 2007 he played his last down in a Bears uniform? Now, five years later we are talking about him finishing his career in Chicago. 

He's currently 31 years old and will be 34 when his contract now expires. Just for a point of reference another very distinguished outside linebacker, Derrick Brooks, played in his last game at 34.

His new deal slightly restructures the final two years of his deal. His cap number will be slightly higher this upcoming season, while it will be slightly less in 2013. In 2014, he will carry a cap hit of $5.5 million, which shouldn't be too bad.

The biggest benefit of this deal is it makes one less angry Bear in that locker room. Just look at what Briggs had to say about the deal, he almost sounded giddy.

Didn't really take long, I know that they spoke with (agent Drew Rosenhaus) at the combine, and obviously we had to give free agency some time so the Bears could acquire the players they wanted in the first couple of weeks. So really from about three weeks into free agency to a week or so ago is about how long it took. I'm grateful, just very appreciative right now that the work has been recognized and that it got handled as fast as it did.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 1: Brian Urlacher #54 of the Chicago Bears looks on during the game against the Minnesota Vikings on January 1, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Forte looking for a long-term deal and Brian Urlacher entering the final year of his current contract, it's one thing general manager Phil Emery can cross off his to-do list.

Briggs also added some insight into the Forte contract issue.

(Forte is) a grown man, and I'd tell him to do what he feels is right, I can't come in his house and say that I'm gonna feed his family; neither can you or anybody else. He knows what his value is, and I think all of us knows what his value is. I will continue to support and hope he gets the deal he knows he deserves. Me and him are in two different types of situation. We're dealing with two different types of money and two different types of deals. I'm hoping his situation gets resolved soon, and I want him to be happy.

He also added that it was much easier dealing with Emery compared to former general manager Jerry Angelo.

Overall, I think this was a great move by the Bears. It removes one potential headache and shows they are willing to work with current players on new deals. 

I also think that sometime after the draft we will see Urlacher get an extension to insure he ends his career in Chicago. That would then only leave the Forte contract dispute as the only unsettled matter heading into the summer.

So what do you think Bears fans, was it smart to extend Briggs? Sound off below.


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