Chicago Sun-Times

Raising the bar for special teams pay

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GLENDALE, Ariz.—The second to final game of the season will go down later today at University of Phoenix Stadium in Super Bowl XLII.

The Pro Bowl will conclude the 2007 season next Sunday in Honolulu. Bears linebacker Lance Briggs (hip) and defensive tackle Tommie Harris (arthroscopic surgery on his left knee) have backed out of the all-star game, but return specialist Devin Hester and special teamer Brendon Ayanbadejo will be there to represent the organization. Maybe Hester can pick the brains of some of the best receivers in the game while he is there and get a few plays in on offense.

It’s expected that Briggs has played his final game wearing a Bears helmet. Agent Drew Rosenhaus said last week that it was simply a precautionary measure for Briggs to remove himself from the game. He expects his client to be in top shape when free agency opens Feb. 29, and he’ll have to pass a physical to get the big-money contract he has been seeking.

Ayanbadejo could be wearing the wishbone `C’ on the side of his helmet for the final time in Hawaii. He’s headed to free agency with Rosenhaus also working for him. Ayanbadejo said during the season he’d like to become the first special teams player to average $2 million annually. That’s a lofty goal.

New York Giants special teamer David Tyree, who represented the NFC in the Pro Bowl following the 2005 season before Ayanbadejo’s two-year run took over, is considered to have the best contract for a special teamer. Prior to the 2006 season, Tyree reportedly signed a five-year deal worth $7.5 million with $1.5 million in bonus money.

He said it’s not quite all that, that it doesn’t average the $1.5 million it appears. Apparently, the figure released was the maximum value of the deal.

``No. No. No,’’ Tyree protested prior to the Big Game. ``Maybe about $1.2 (million). It could have with incentives maybe shaked out to be that high but I don’t think it’s that. My incentives are kind of hard to reach even at that, I’ll be honest with you. Some of them are for being a wide receiver. And the other one is a Pro Bowl incentive. [Ayanbadejo] is screwing my whole deal up [in terms of that].

``I give the kid a ton of credit. I am a fan of his. He earned it. I’m a receiver and I’ve got to go out there and make my plays like anybody else has to go out and make their plays. But he’s got about 35 pounds on me and it’s easier for him to go down and bust a wedge than it is for me. So when they put a double team on me he’s got a better shot. I give him all kudos. He’s earns it each year.’’

So the question was posed, plain and simple, in this era with the salary cap expected to climb to $116 million for the 2008 season, can a special teamer get a deal averaging $2 million per season? Or is Ayanbadejo over on Fantasy Island?

``That’s definitely a lot of money,’’ Tyree said. ``Honestly, and I don’t want to make it sound like I am underpaid or anything, but I played a little more receiver than he may have played linebacker. Maybe that could have played into it. I would have loved to have gotten about $2 million a year. I come in in some critical moments and help the football team and it’s not about me. It’s about helping the football team.

``As a special teams player alone, if Brendon gets $2 million a year, that’s a lot. I understand it because it’s tough, it’s hard. You’re out there helping your team win big time. If you look at his survey of work, I believe he deserves it.’’

That comes as no surprise. No one wants to see players paid more than ... players.

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10 Comments

If the Bears are smart they will sign Devin Hester to a long term contract this offseason before he wises up and dumps his current agent for Drew Rosenhaus!

$2 mill is a bit excessive for a special teamer but the Bears have the top unit in the league and while other teams don't take their STs seriously, Chicago's can ultimately decide the outcome of some games. Angelo has to be serious about special teams b/c they are the best and most consistent thing we have going on the Bears.

If the Bears aren't going to pay Briggs, Ayanbadejo or Berrian then who are they going to pay??? They better be doing some big time upgrading in free agency with the cap going up and them losing these salaries. All this plus the prospect of cutting loose/restructuring, Mike Brown, Moose, #20 and Rex or Griese.

This team is not far off, but improvements are definetly needed. I hope Angelo doesn't continue to disappoint.

Dear Jerry,
We need a safety, a QB, a tailback, d-tackles and o-lineman. Here is a few names to consider: Chris Harris, Thomas Jones, Ian Scott, Alfonso Boone... Oh that's right you let them go... Step it up Jerry!

Who can anyone bellyache about making $1,000,000 a year? To play a God Forsaken game? I understand that most players end up with terrible injuries they need to struggle with them for the rest of their lves. But isn't that why they go to college? Don't these guys know how to invest, or maybe even save money??? Oh, wait a minute, I am talking about the NFL....

Why can we not resign our free agents?Tha Pats have a big contract with Brady.They also can afford Colvin,Bruesci,Vrabal,Thomas,Seau,Moss,Harrison,Seymore to name a few.
We should be able to sign Briggs Berrian And B.A. along with extending Hester and Grossman our only contract over 40 mill is with Urlacher I beleive brady is in the 100 mill area. How can they get all there guys signed and we can not.

Steve it's simple Pompei wrote about this last month. There are only 3 teams that actually own there own stadiums. With that being said these teams are said to make the most money. And because they make the most money that can afford to pay large amount of money in cash. However, other teams like the bears are family owned and don't own soldier field. So the on the other hand cannot go into there pockets like some teams to pay out large amounts of money. The bears need ticket sales and all that stuff to make money because they don't own the stadium. So percentages must be divided with the city, team, and league.

You forgot to mention guys the Pats have let go...Curtis Martin, Ty Law, Willie McGinnest...there's a loooong list of top quality talent that they decided a)probably still had gas in the tank, but b) wanted way more than they were worth to the team.

And that seems to work out well for them. Let Berrian go. He should take a pay cut after killing his QBs by not wanting to catch a ball anytime a DB is within 8 yards. Briggs wants way too much and it does seem WLB is pretty replaceable (Covin, Holdman). I love 94, but Rosenwhore is writing his ticket out of town.

Rosenwhore! jajaja! One question? Who receive more money in all the chicago bears organization per year?? Yes, drew rosenhaus. Stop payin him!! let em go , berrian, ayanbadejo, and briggs!!
we need OT, WR, and a QB! Id like Mcnabb, starks, and ocho cinco cj(even another rosenhaus´s client), and in the draft another OT in 1st round, Flacco or Henne in the second, and a DT and rb in the third round.

The Bears SMART??? Who would ever accuse them of being that???!!!

Mex. sweetness you are right on OT first (remember Joe Thomas) I would take the safety before the QB Henne or even Ainge could be sitting there, RB's will be there late and often in the draft be patient one will be there. Then Jerry can do what he does best find second day gems for both sides of the ball. But work on offense early and often. Jerry time to let the offense be your main focus.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 3, 2008 12:02 PM.

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