INDIANAPOLIS—General manager Jerry Angelo took time out in between his schedule of meeting with agents and Bears personnel to assess the contract agreement in place for quarterback Rex Grossman Saturday afternoon, as well as other semi-related topics.
The transcript from the press conference:
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON RE-SIGNING REX?
JA: “We’re real happy about it. As I said when we last talked, that we felt this was the best place for Rex, and in talking to Rex’s agent, they felt that too, given that they bantered some other things back and forth, but in the end they felt like we did: This is the best place for him. It gives him the best chance to do the things that he wants to do. We decided on a one-year deal. It served everybody’s best interest. Certainly he’s looking at the monetary value.”
“We felt as he did that would be in his best interest. I know that the monetary part of it as I said played a role into this. We thought that this would serve in that best interest. He really wanted to come back here and do the things that he set out to do, and we were happy to hear that. And as I said to you before, we wanted Rex back because Rex wanted to be back, and by coming back before free agency started, that this is the place where he wanted to be. So good news and we’re real happy that we were able to get it done as quickly as we did.”
WOULD YOU HAVE PREFERRED A TWO-YEAR CONTRACT?
JA: “No, we both agreed … We talked about it, but we felt that a one-year deal would have been the best for him given this: We do a two-year deal, he plays great assuming that he’s our starting quarterback, what are we going to do with that second year? In all likelihood you’re not going to take that second year and make a play for it, you’re going to probably tear up the contract, so the money you gave him at this time wouldn’t have really applied to that second year. The one-year deal’s a good deal. Like I said, he was for it, more of a challenge, but that’s a good thing. If a player’s asking for two years, then he’s probably not as confident about who he is. As I said, we were really fixed on that. We did banter some things around about a two-year, but we all agreed that a one-year serves everybody’s best interest.”
RON TURNER SAID IT’S NOW A COMPETITION BETWEEN REX AND KYLE ORTON. DOES THAT MEAN BRIAN GRIESE IS HEADED ELSEWHERE?
JA: “I’m not going to get into that. We got this behind us. We will move forward with other things, but that part of it right now I haven’t really addressed in my mind. We’ve talked about our other players and that’s where our focus is here now and really until the start of free agency at least from that timetable.”
IS THAT WAY YOU SEE IT, THOUGH, A COMPETITION BETWEEN REX ND KYLE?
JA: “I see it coming down to probably in all likelihood a competition between two of them, yes. But again, we wanted to get Rex on board. We do have a plan. We talked about it pretty thoroughly and I don’t want to get any more specific than that at this point.”
BERNARD BERRIAN SAID HE WANTED REX BACK. WILL THIS IMPACT WHETHER HE RETURNS?
JA: “I don’t know how it will realistically. I’m hoping it bodes well and makes it easier for Bernard to want to come back to us. But we signed Rex because we wanted Rex. We want to sign Bernard because we want Bernard, and if it works out that that facilitated Bernard wanting to be back even more, that’s great.”
BUT IF BERRIAN RETURNS, DOES THAT GIVE REX AN EDGE IN COMPETITION?
JA: “No. We don’t make decisions based on that. Rex is Rex, Bernard’s Bernard. It’s a competition. Rex knows it, and if it’s Rex and Bernard, great. But we don’t make the decision based on that.”
LAST YEAR YOU SAID YOU WEREN’T READY TO COMMIT TO REX LONGTERM. ARE YOU DOING THE SAME THING THIS YEAR?
JA: “The consistency. We saw some really great moments in ’06 with Rex. He hit a little bit of a tailspin at some point during the season. No big deal; first year as a starter that’s very understandable. He did have one more year remaining and we felt there are really no discounts on quarterbacks. When you pay a quarterback, you pay a quarterback when you talk long term. Given that, we felt it behooved us to continue to take a look, feeling very confident about Rex going into the ’07 season. It didn’t work out the way he wanted, we wanted. He got hurt at the end. I thought when he came back and had time to reflect, he started to show some very good things in terms of the consistency. He got hurt at the tail end. The silver lining with that, we got a chance to take a look at Kyle, and Kyle showed some pretty good things. There was a silver lining in it. We feel good about having Rex back. We feel good about Kyle. Probably the consistency, I think that’s what you want to see. Obviously, when it comes to consistency, you have to be able to win with your quarterback. That would be from my perspective what I would want to see.”
DREW ROSENHAUS SEES HIS THREE GUYS HITTING FREE AGENCY BUT BEARS STILL BEING INVOLVED. YOU SEE IT SAME WAY?
JA: “Certainly we’re going to be in the mix. We can’t control players going into free agency. We’ve talked to Drew about his players and he knows how we feel. But we have a pretty good understanding of where all this is in a few weeks. I don’t see this really dragging out, being a long process, given the nature of the players.”
DID REX’S AGENT ACCEPT YOUR INITIAL OFFER?
JA: “Nobody accepts your initial offer. I wish that were the way it works. There was some negotiations involved. We spent a goodly amount of time, even though we were able to get it done in a short period of time. It did take us a goodly part of the day. We had an idea, Rex had an idea. We floated the idea to him a few weeks ago, let his agent and he talk about some things, get comfortable with our situation, which he was. We were able to get the deal done because this is where he wanted to be and we wanted him here and the numbers kind of took care of themselves.”
WERE YOU INTENT ON GETTING REX DONE BEFORE HE HIT THE MARKETPLACE IN THE EVENT THERE WAS TEPID INTEREST IN HIM, AND THEN HE WOULD JUST WIND UP RETURNING? DID YOU WANT A POSITIVE FEEL OUT OF THE SITUATION?
JA: “You could look at it that way; we didn’t. We wanted him because we felt like he gives us the best opportunity to be the best team we can be going into this next season. That was strictly how we made the decision. It wasn’t well, let’s let him go out and test the water and see if we can get him cheaper. That had nothing to do with it. It’s irrelevant. We knew what the marketplace was. There’s been a few comps that were out there and he had a feel, we had a feel, and we were able to create a bridge pretty quickly on that. But our thinking was and his thinking was I want to start, I want to be the best I can be and he felt our environment gave him the best opportunity to do that and we felt the same. And that’s why when I made the statement when we talked a few days ago, that I felt like t his is the best place for Rex, and Rex is the right fit for us. We do know what other players are at that position out there. We did look at those players internally and we felt Rex was the best for us.”
DOES THIS CHANGE YOUR PHILOSOPHY ABOUT EVALUATING QBS IN THE DRAFT?
JA: “No, it doesn’t. It’s still going to be from my perspective business as usual. We’re still going to look at that position going forward. We always look at that position every year. As I’ve said, we’ve talked about four. We’re really going to look at the quarterback position as hard as we look at any position. That’s not going to change whether we got this done with Rex and whoever. We’ve got to get the quarterback position stabilized. You can never have enough good quarterbacks. If you’ve got young quarterbacks, and you saw that with Kyle. There was a real good offensive lineman as an example that we wanted at the time when we drafted Kyle. The offensive lineman wound up being a rookie starter and playing real well now and that was really more of an immediate need. But in the fourth round, given how we felt about Kyle, given that he was a quarterback, we opted to take Kyle and it really panned out well for us. Little did we think that he’d be our starter his rookie year, but it did pan out that way. We did I believe win 10 games with him. We did win the North. And we got into the playoffs, so who would have ever thought that. So I don’t underestimate the value of the quarterback position, and that’s my point.”
IS THE FACT THAT IT’S A ONE-YEAR DEAL MEANS YOU HAVEN’T SOLVED THE QB POSITION?
JA: “Yes, we haven’t solved it. With one-year deals you’re not solving anything. You’re still in the hunt so-to-speak. We certainly feel good about the people that are contending at the position, but it’s not solved yet.”