Bernard Berrian’s competition on the open market just got thinner.
Dallas Cowboys WR Patrick Crayton took a below-market deal to remain with the team, something his agent Frederick Lyles admitted in telling reporters Thursday night: ``He could have easily secured more money on the open market. But his family is here. His wife and child and mother and siblings, they all live in Dallas. He was more concerned about not uprooting his family.’’
Berrian doesn’t have family tying him to Chicago and he could become the marquee receiver on the open market come March 1 after Randy Moss, who could re-sign with New England.
Crayton reportedly received a $6 million signing bonus on a $14 million, four-year extension. The No. 2 behind Terrell Owens has 48 catches for 689 yards and seven touchdowns, and some considered him a better possibility on the open market than Berrian. Berrian is the Bears’ leading receiver with 67 receptions for 920 yards and four touchdowns. While Crayton is considered a more physical, complete receiver, Berrian has better speed and is a vertical threat. He is expected to play his final game for the Bears Sunday vs. New Orleans at Soldier Field.
Berrian turned down a contract extension by the Bears in June that had $7.5 million guaranteed. While Crayton will no longer compete with Berrian for free-agent dollars, suitors will point to the contract Crayton received and say he is a No. 2 wideout and tell Berrian he is in the same class. Still, without many other quality receivers available it may not effect Berrian’s drive for a big pay day.
Two agents expressed surprised at the contract Crayton received, agreeing with Lyles that he could have received much more after March 1 on the open market.