The deadline for clubs to place the franchise tag on a player is 3 p.m. Thursday, and it could be leverage the Bears have when it comes to negotiating with wide receiver Bernard Berrian after the team offered him an extension. Most players aren’t happy with the tag, and linebacker Lance Briggs sure was not last year. Berrian and Briggs are both represented by agent Drew Rosenhaus, who also works for defensive tackle Tommie Harris and special teamer Brendon Ayanbadejo, the four players the Bears are working to re-sign.
Rosenhaus has had clients in the past who have been tagged and it has not been an issue. It would cost $7.848 million.
Another deadline is looming as well, as Feb. 28 is the deadline for the submission of qualifying offers to restricted free agents such as safety Brandon McGowan and wide receiver Rashied Davis. Chances are the Bears will submit offers to both players. Because neither was drafted by the team—McGowan was an undrafted free agent and Davis was signed away from the Arena League—the Bears cannot receive draft pick compensation for losing them at the low tender level of $927,000.
They would have the right of first refusal however, so they could match any offer sheet the player(s) sign with another club. It’s how the Bears got kicker Paul Edinger and defensive lineman/special teams wiz Israel Idonije locked up in the past. Another team negotiated a deal, the Bears found it to their liking and they matched it.
If the Bears wanted to ensure compensation, in the form of a second-round pick, they could tender one or both players at $1.417 million. That would probably ensure neither was signed to an offer sheet because it’s unlikely a team would be willing to lose a second rounder for McGowan or Davis. Compensation in the form of a first-round pick comes with a tender of $2.017 million and it costs $2.562 million for first- and third-round picks as compensation. Forget about either of those options.
With less than two weeks to play, it figures McGowan and Davis will get low-level tenders at $927,000 and be given the opportunity to shop themselves around for a multi-year contract. McGowan improved his play as the season went on and Davis proved himself valuable, particularly in 2006 when the offense wasn’t in shambles. The Bears need some continuity at receiver with Muhsin Muhammad gone and facing the prospect Berrian will also depart.