The Chicago Bears should pay Lance Briggs. It was my plan to write a post about this all week, and ironically I noticed in today’s Tribune David Haugh writes on this very subject. I’m writing this before I read his article.
During the offseason, when Briggs and his agent (everyone’s friend Drew Rosenhaus) were grandstanding for a $50 million-plus contract, I echoed most Bear fans by saying screw ‘em. The thought was this defense is good enough to lose Briggs, plug in Jamar Williams, and not miss a beat.
But it’s clear as day the Chicago Bear defense does miss more than a beat with Briggs out of the lineup. Against Dallas the game was tied 3-3 at halftime. After Briggs went out in the second half, Dallas controlled the game and scored 31 points. With Briggs missing the first game of his career at Detroit, Chicago again gave up 37 points.
Briggs returned against Green Bay, and although the depleted Bear defense was shredded in the first half, the returning linebacker registered 16 tackles. And many of them were absolutely vital to shutting down the Packers in the second half, keying the victory.
My opinion now is plugging in Jamar Williams or 2007 draftee Michael Okwo (on injured reserve) in ’08 will not avoid a drop-off in production. I understand with key players to resign elsewhere Jerry Angelo must avoid the temptation to over-invest at one position. Brian Urlacher is signed through 2011 and inked a $56.6 million contract in 2003. But with all the talent the New England Patriots have signed, they still had room to add Adalius Thomas at close to $40 million on the life of the deal to Roosevelt Colvin’s $30 million.
Fortunately and unfortunately, the Bears now will not have to find $30 to $50 million to resign Rex Grossman, and unless Bernard Berrian turns it around they probably won’t have to break the bank for him, either. Yes, the contract Tommie Harris will sign will set the bar for defensive tackles in the future, and that’s coming up within the year.
My opinion is, find a way to sign Briggs, Bears. It won’t be as easy to replace him as I once thought.