Picked up an interesting point courtesy of ESPN’s John Clayton earlier tonight regarding Briggsgate.
When you analyze one of the draft pick value charts used to assess trades, the Bears gain 25 points by moving from the 12th pick in the third round (75th overall) to the seventh pick in the third round (70th overall) following commissioner Roger Goodell’s ruling.
It doesn’t sound like a lot. But 25 points on the chart is equivalent to a high sixth-round pick. So you can look at it like the Bears gained a sixth-round pick. On the other side of things, San Francisco was stripped of a fifth-round pick by Goodell and loses the equivalent of a sixth rounder by moving into the Bears spot at No. 12 in Round 3. All for some shenanigans involving linebacker Lance Briggs, a player Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rose Press Democrat doesn’t believe really fits what the Niners are doing, not with the emergence of Patrick Willis.
One league source suggested the Bears’ ire in the matter grew when agent Drew Rosenhaus tried leveraging the club in negotiations, claiming he could get more money from the 49ers in free agency. (Rosenhaus did not return messages seeking comment). The league said the matter grew out of a complaint by the Bears, and Goodell heard both parties March 17 in New York. President Ted Phillips, general manager Jerry Angelo, pro personnel director Bobby DePaul and contract negotiator/legal counsel Cliff Stein represented the Bears. San Francisco’s contingent included GM Scot McCloughan, vice president of football operations Lal Heneghan, contract negotiator Paraag Marathe and an attorney.
The final score? Not only did they get Briggs back at their price—there was no way San Francisco was going to pursue him in free agency with tampering charges looming—now they get to move up in Round 3.
The key for them will be putting the improved pick to use in finding an impact player. The Bears have not had a third-round pick pan out since getting Bernard Berrian (78th overall) in 2004. Drafted in the third round the year before him? Briggs (68th overall). In case you’re wondering, the third-round pick in 2005 was shipped to Miami in the Adewale Ogunleye/Marty Booker trade. The jury remains out on third-round picks Dusty Dvoracek (2006), Garrett Wolfe (2007) and Michael Okwo (2007).
Overall, the feeling around the league is Goodell wanted to let it be known he’s serious about stamping out tampering. The 49ers happen to be to anti-tampering rules what Pacman Jones and Tank Johnson were to personal conduct rules—a good example. The difference between the Bears and New York Jets, who blew the whistle on Spygate, is the Bears got something out of the deal. The Jets received nothing from the New England Patriots. Well, nothing but the assurance Bill Belichick will never forget.
Tampering happens all the time leading up to free agency. Deals are floated and then assembled at the combine every year in the week leading up to free agency. As one veteran agent explained last month at the combine it’s as simple as this: he calls around to the 32 teams who all know who his clients entering free agency are and asks if they want to get together. If they have interest in one of his clients, they invite him to stop by their hotel. What happens in those meetings ranges from broad discussion of general parameters to hardcore number crunching.
What separated the 49ers in this instance is they reached out to Rosenhaus during season.