Thursday, March 29, 2007

Be Cool, Baby

Now that the initial surprise of the Redskins' offer for Lance Briggs has worn off, let's all be cool like a bunch of little Fonzies here.

Don Pierson of the Tribune is still saying what I said the other day: pick up the phone and accept the offer before the Redskins come to their senses.

Pierson actually lets Briggs have it. For his big fat mouth, yes, but also cuts Briggs's talent down pretty harshly.

Briggs became a Pro Bowl player because he plays in Smith's defense next to Pro Bowl player Brian Urlacher. Briggs doesn't rush the passer, doesn't make interceptions, doesn't force fumbles and doesn't disrupt offenses. In the long line of Chicago outside linebackers, he's good but he's no Wilber Marshall, Otis Wilson, Doug Buffone, Joe Fortunato, Larry Morris, Rosevelt Colvin or Ross Brupbacher.

Oh, clearly he's no Ross Brupbacher. I had to punch that one up. Based on the only page I can find about Ross Brupbacher, he was in the NFL for 4 apparently undistinguished years (1970-1972, 1976). Evidently Pierson was his biggest fan.

I'm still with you, Don. I'd be fine with pulling the trigger on the offer based on my assumptions that (a) the Bears won't receive a better offer and (b) Briggs will go through with holding out and possibly cause some havoc for the 2007 club. I mean, for chrissakes, somehow he and his agent are busting into owners' meetings and running amok. They're resourceful and irrepressible blowhards. I have to give them their due on that front -- they're the original twin devils of deception!

But I'm liking how the Bears are handling it so far. There's no rush on this thing, even if I got my hackles up upon rumor of this offer.

Lovie's talking like the coolest cat in the room. Hadn't heard from him in a while, but he talked some Tank yesterday, as well as some Briggs.

"Would we welcome [Briggs] back? He's a Chicago Bear. Yeah, we welcome all Chicago Bears back. And he is. So, of course, we will then. I mean, we may have a few players that get hurt and miss some time, and when they are ready to come back, we welcome them back.''

Lovie's found his niche as a good, calming coach who cares about Chicago Bears players on a personal level. He's got it right. Briggs is still a Chicago Bear, even if he might not put the uniform back on until Week 12. Whether that's because of injury or holdout, it's all the same from Lovie's perspective.

I'm also pleased with Angelo's reaction so far. He told the Skins this isn't how we roll. We don't conduct our biz on SportsCenter through insufferable agents. That was a good start.

And now he's slowed down and, according to the Sun-Times' Mike Mulligan:

is believed to be preparing a counteroffer to the Redskins' proposal of a swap of first-round draft picks that would move the Bears from No. 31 to No. 6. The Bears are thought to want a better package in exchange for a Pro Bowl linebacker that might include a combination of players or future draft picks.

While I'm saying this is the best offer the Bears are going to get, maybe Jerry's thinking a little clearer that that's mostly true, but maybe he can milk a little more from the Redskins themselves. The Redskins are out on a limb here, too, and everyone knows they fritter away draft picks as if they have no value.

For instance, one of the picks they frittered away was this year's 2nd-rounder. They traded that to move up last April to draft linebacker Rocky McIntosh. This is the Rocky McIntosh who would figure to be the odd man out if the Redskins acquired Briggs. They've already got Marcus Washington and recent high-priced free agent London Fletcher(-Baker). Add Briggs to that and where's McIntosh? Exactly.

Come to think of it, that 2nd round pick they traded away is the #37 the Bears just got from the Jets in the Thomas Jones deal. It all spins around and around, wildly out of control, when the Redskins are involved. And Jerry Angelo knows that. If nothing else, maybe Jerry likes the current offer but can get them to take #37 instead of #31. Or maybe he can just get the Skins to say "Eh, you know that pick we took for Archuleta? We'll give you that one back."

Pick away at those fools, Jerry. There's still a month at hand.

Another interesting scenario would be the idea of getting a player from the Redskins. The Bears really have no one to fill in at LB, and the draft is said to be pretty lousy at the position. The Redskins have the aforementioned pile of LBs. Scanning down the depth chart a bit farther, there's certainly no room for Warrick Holdman to play anymore.

Wouldn't that be something if he came back? Even if it were possible under the cap and all that, I can't see Angelo bringing up Holdman's name. For the most part, everyone has forgiven Angelo for one of his first moves as Bears GM, which was failing to check a box on some form that would have given the Bears draft-pick compensation if another team signed Holdman away.

I don't think Angelo wants to hear from the press about the irony of bringing Holdman back, even if it would be for the good of the team. That's what a lot of this Briggs business is about: doing what's best for the team on the field versus exhibiting class and might as an organization.

Obviously Briggs sitting home for 10 games will hurt the team and moving up 25 slots would help the team. But if the perception is that they were bullied into trading Tom Jones, then they are bullied into trading Briggs, both for less than their value, then there is organizational value in taking a stand. Even if you're getting what you wanted, it's still detrimental to have Rosenhaus saying every 5 minutes that he's calling all of your shots.

So I'm with you, Jerry. Keep plugging away for more. I seem to be with everyone today and that's weird. Am I still drunk or somethin'? I better get that checked out. Or perhaps Briggs/Rosenhaus have irritated the shit out of me and I'll side with anyone but them.

The worst-case scenario is the 10-game holdout, and that would be fine with me. Briggs and Rosenhaus crossed the line long ago, and now they're just picking up the pace on lying, trying to leverage the idiots like Mariotti who make their living off of the fashion of the day, which is trashing the Bears' front office whether the evidence is true or not.

Like a greasy lemming, Mariotti climbs right on board with the agent's claim that Briggs is being tagged like a piece of meat by a team who refuses to negotiate. The Bears offered a long-term deal last year. Where's the counteroffer?

Drew, Lance, tell us what number you've proposed, at any time, that those cheapskates have shot down. That would be the very best way to gain the fan support that you're shamelessly stumping for. Tell us the numbers. We're right here at the ready to call the McCaskeys cheap bastards.

You can't, because you've never made a counteroffer for the Bears to consider. So quit spouting the lie that the Bears refuse to negotiate. It's you guys who've done that. Briggs has been asked a few times and he has no answer, other than he doesn't want to get into all that. Yeah, I can understand why.

We know from past history why Angelo isn't thrilled with the deal on the table and why he'd be working on a counteroffer. He's stated this standpoint before and reiterated it yesterday.

"We have to digest what it is from a [salary]-cap standpoint," Angelo said. "The sixth pick is an inordinate amount of money, and there are cap issues in terms of our plan."

The use of "inordinate" is telling. Angelo feels these high picks are a wolf in sheep's clothing. I right-clicked inordinate for synonyms:

Undue, unnecessary, unwarranted, unreasonable

Angelo wouldn't draft 6th with Bea Arthur's pick. If life was as easy as the draft value board and Angelo could trade down for what that board calls fair value, then there's something to talk about. But it's pretty certain the Redskins have actively shopped this pick and found no takers, and Angelo knows this.

Stay the course, Jerry! Anytime between today and the day after the draft, I'm fine with hearing you say "No deal interested us. Briggs is a Bear in 2007, and we're done talking about it." That won't stop Rosenhaus & Briggs from continuing their media tour, and they'll continue to come off increasingly petulant and dishonest as they announce a few new planned threats each day.

The Bears can sit chilly through all that, because the only aggression that will stand is Briggs sitting home in civvies for 10 weeks and then being obligated to show up. That's how it works, even if twerps like Mariotti prefer and perpetuate the sleazy agent's nonsensical rendition of what time it is.

Go Bearss!

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