Bears’ Lance Briggs sees writing on wall: Contract talk going nowhere
By Mark Potash firstname.lastname@example.org September 5, 2011 11:00PM
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23: Linebacker Lance Briggs #55 of the Chicago Bears reacts after an interception late in the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Lance Briggs
Updated: November 9, 2011 10:51AM
Disgruntled Bears linebacker Lance Briggs said ‘‘I know my days are numbered’’ after the Bears denied his request to renegotiate his contract.
Unfortunately for Briggs, the number is around 910. That’s how many days are left on the six-year contract he signed in 2008. And unless the Bears have a change of heart, that’s the $36 million deal he’ll have to live with.
Briggs, who has made the Pro Bowl the last six seasons, said he would be satisfied if the Bears just restructured the contract by trading his $3.65 million salary this season for the $6.25 million he is due in 2013, the final year of the contract.
But the Bears, according to Briggs, won’t touch the contract at any time or in any way. That’s why he had his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, officially requested permission last week to seek a trade.
‘‘[If the Bears were willing to] deal with it after the season, then I have something to work with,’’ Briggs said after practice Monday at Halas Hall. ‘‘But when the organization says, ‘We’re not talking now, we’re not talking ever,’ that puts me in a position where I know my days are numbered.’’
Briggs, who has received nearly $21 million in the first three years of the contract, said he will not allow his unhappiness with his contract to affect his play.
‘‘It’s not personal. I understand it’s a business,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s the business side of it. It’s ugly. That’s the way it goes. I’m going to play football. And as long as I’m a Bear I’m going to give it my all.’’
Briggs said the deal was fair when he signed it in 2008 but it isn’t today because his compensation drops from $6.7 million in 2010 to $3.9 million in 2011 while he still is playing at a Pro Bowl level.
‘‘If I play for X amount of money and this year I’m asked to play for half of that, my play doesn’t decrease, correct?’’ he responded. ‘‘So I have every right to ask for a raise or in this case ask to at least flip years. There’s nothing wrong with that. We don’t retire when we’re 65 years old.’’
Why did Briggs agree to a contract that cuts his salary in half regardless of his on-field production?
‘‘[With the salary cap] you have to structure deals, spread out [the signing bonus] over six years so it doesn’t count too much against the cap,’’ he said. ‘‘They tell you, ‘We need to save some of these dollars so we can pay other players.’
‘‘So you sign the deal. You have to sign at the time. Whether the CBA [collective bargaining agreement] has changed or not, there are things the owners will not budge on. In the NFL there aren’t any guaranteed contracts. If I under-perform, the owner has the right to cut me. They can cut me right before I’m supposed to get a bonus in March. So a player [has] every right to ask for a renegotiation. To ask for a trade. Or to hold out.’’