So, you say you want to place the franchise tag on wide receiver Bernard Berrian for the 2008 season.
That move will cost the Bears $7.8 million for 2008 as the figures for franchise and transition tags have been released (see below for complete breakdown).
That’s a lot of money to fork over for a receiver coming off a season with 71 receptions for 951 yards and five touchdowns. Of course, with a more settled offense and a stable quarterback position, his production would no doubt be enhanced.
General manager Jerry Angelo, in his postseason address, did not rule out the possibility of using the franchise tag on Berrian. The transition tag number is $6.9 million.
``We really haven’t talked about the franchise tag,’’ Angelo said earlier this month. ``I don’t like to use it, but if it’s in our best interest, I’m not going to rule anything out.
``We’d certainly like to have Bernard back, but if it doesn’t work out, then we have to have players that will step in, be it a Mark Bradley right off the top of my head or somebody that we look at in the draft potentially.’’
Angelo’s dislike of the franchise tag didn’t stop him from placing it on linebacker Lance Briggs this past season at a cost of $7.206 million. The figure for linebackers jumps to $8.065 million this coming season, but because Briggs was on the field for more than 75 percent of the defensive snaps, the Bears cannot tag him again.
Before the season, Berrian was asked about the franchise tag, a device that angers most players because it prevents them from signing a longterm contract with more guaranteed money. Briggs, for one, threw a fit when the Bears tagged him, threatening to never wear their uniform again.
``It could happen,’’ Berrian said prior to last season. ``But if at all possible, I would like to avoid the franchise tag. I would rather be under contract instead of having to sign a one-year tender.’’
The tag means a lot of money, Bernard.
``That is a lot of money for one year,’’ he agreed.
``I’m definitely not going to cry and sit in my bed and think, `Oh, damn, they're franchising me, what am I going to do?’’’ Berrian said. ``No matter how people want to look at it, football is a business. If that were to happen, I don't think I would be mad about it.
``Like Lance was, I would probably be upset. You want the long-term deal and you want to be where you're at, especially when you're in a good situation. Sometimes you get the franchise tag and you're thinking, `What are they thinking by franchising me? Am I one-and-done with them?’ There are a lot of things that go into play with it.’’
The Bears made an initial contract offer on a longterm extension to Berrian last summer. The deal included roughly $7.5 million guaranteed. That’s what makes it very interesting if the organization is now going to consider paying him more than that for one season.
The Bears must rework their wide receiver position, but at what cost?
The franchise tag and transition tag numbers for 2008:
Franchise Tag Numbers
QB - $10.7 million
RB - $6.5 million
WR - $7.8 million
TE - $4.5 million
P/K - $2.5 million
OL - $7.5 million
DE - $8.9 million
DT - $6.4 million
LB - $8.1 million
S - $4.4 million
CB - $9.5 million
Transition Tag Numbers
QB - $9.6 million
RB - $5.7 million
WR - $6.9 million
TE - $3.7 million
P/K - $2.2 million
OL - $6.9 million
DE - $7.7 million
DT - $5.6 million
LB - $7.3 million
S - $3.8 million
CB - $7.7 million