|Lance Briggs and Matt Forte may have to wait until after the season to talk about new contracts. (Getty Images)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
On Friday, Bears linebacker Lance Briggs announced (by way of his agent Drew Rosenhaus) that he wants to be traded. He's currently in Year 4 of a six-year, $36 million deal he signed in 2008. "The Bears made their decision, now I have to make mine," Briggs recently told the Chicago-Tribune after the team rebuffed his request for a raise.
Briggs later took his case to Twitter, explaining the nuances of NFL contracts (sic'd):
“Most have no idea what's goin on. Owners can cut any player they want at any time and answer to know one. Players fight for themselves … And get ridiculed. You know as well as I do there are things that happen behind doors that all the fans/critics dnt know about … I keep reading that players (I) should honor our contracts...when have owners honored contracts...they dnt. Chris Johnson should never have … Had to hold out to get a new deal. His play spoke for himself. Yet team wouldnt just pay the man. Tommie Harris was honoring his contract … When the bears cut him right before his bonus. Cut Brandon Manumaleuna when he was just honoring his contract. … Players do what you must. People get hurt and emotional. I understand...bottom line were all still bears and were trying to bring home a championship.”
We understand Briggs' concerns but most fans do understand that NFL contracts aren't guaranteed. And, in general, we have absolutely no issue with players gettin' while the gettin' is good. But we hesitate to immediately take up Briggs' cause because he's now on his second contract, generally the one that pays big-name players handsomely after making relatively little on their rookie deals.
So now, three years into a contract he was happy to sign, Briggs, a nine-year veteran, wants more money. That's a little different than Chris Johnson, one of the two best backs in the league, holding out for something more than the $800,000 or so he was set to make in 2011.
Whatever Briggs wants will now have to wait until after the season.
"What he's doing is not something that hasn't been done here in Chicago and around the league," Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said Monday, according to ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert. "We feel very, very confident that Lance's focus is going to be on the season and having a great year, and we'll just take care of our business when that time comes. And that'll be at the end of the year."
Briggs admits that he's open to the idea of talking after the season, and all he wants to do is switch the $6.25 million he's set to make in the final year of his deal with the $3.65 million he'll make in 2011. Which is nice, but that's something he should take up with his agent, who structured the deal, instead of his bosses.
Either way, that appears to be a conversation for another day.
In other Bears-related contract news, the team has cut off negotiations with running back Matt Forte. According to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Gene Chamberlain, the two sides are no longer talking contract extension. "Right now our focus is going to be on the season," said Angelo on WBBM-AM 780's Bears Insider Show. Angelo called it a "mutual understanding" that there would be no more talks for now.
Last week, the Bears reportedly offered Forte $15 million guaranteed, although the details of the proposal weren't made public.
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