Bears’ Lance Briggs is all smiles after signing 1-year extension
BY SEAN JENSEN firstname.lastname@example.org April 11, 2012 8:36PM
Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs waits for the play to begin during the Bears 34-29 win over the Carolina Panthers Sunday October 2, 2011 at Soldier Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: May 13, 2012 10:33AM
During his brilliant Bears career, seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs has had some contentious contract issues with the club.
But the one-year extension he agreed to with the club Wednesday was the easiest, by far.
“It was a very smooth process,” agent Drew Rosenhaus told the Sun-Times. “I hate the clichés, but it’s a double positive. For Lance, we respect the fact that the Bears did a deal, despite him having two years left. And they appreciate what Lance means to that organization.”
“We were able to avoid any negativity.”
Before the 2011 regular season finale, Briggs told the Sun-Times he was “hopeful” of an upgrade to his contract, which was scheduled to pay him $4 million next season. Then, in 2013, he was slated to make $6.5 million in the final year of a six-year, $36 million deal he signed in 2008.
Now, Briggs will make $2.25 million more in 2013, he’ll be guaranteed $2 million for 2013, and he could make $5.5 million in 2014, when he’ll be 34 years old.
All told, Briggs gets $8.25 million in new guarantees.
“I’m grateful,” Briggs said. “I’m just very appreciative right now that the work has been recognized and that it got handled as fast as it did.
“My dream is to retire a Bear, and I know that I will.
New Bears general manager Phil Emery praised Briggs in a statement.
“Lance has been a very valuable and productive member of our team. Seven straight Pro Bowls is quite a record of success,” Emery said. “This is a very positive step for our team in our efforts to win championships.”
The Bears have been aggressive this offseason, and Briggs couldn’t be anymore thrilled.
“On paper we’re talented, we’re very, very talented. Would I call us the Dream Team? No, I would not,” he said. “But we’re a championship caliber team.”
Meanwhile, Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher enters the final year of his deal. He recently told the Sun-Times that he intends to retire a Bear.
Briggs expects the same.
“I think the Bears will do right by him. He’s coming off a great year,” Briggs said. “Hopefully, we can play until we’re 49 years old, if that’s possible.”