Chicago Sun-Times

Newest Jet outpaces other linebackers

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Chicago truly is Second City when it comes to paying linebackers.

Lance Briggs, the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker, and two-time All-Pro choice, wasn’t exactly enthusiastic when he discussed his return to the Bears Sunday evening on a conference call. Briggs agreed to terms on a $36 million, six-year contract that includes $13 million guaranteed Saturday evening.

While it’s not exactly small potatoes when stacking it up to what the New York Jets landed Calvin Pace—the Calvin Pace—with, it’s not in the same ballpark. Pace received a $42 million, six-year contract from the freewheeling Jets (same overall dollar amount and years as receiver Bernard Berrian got in Minnesota). Pace pulls down a $20 million signing bonus and $22 million guaranteed. He will collect $26 million in the first three years of the deal, according to’s Len Pasquarelli.

Briggs is a decorated player. Pace has 38 career starts and had 98 tackles and 6 1/2 sacks last season. He has 14 career sacks. One of the reasons Briggs didn’t get the deal he was aiming for was because he doesn’t rush the passer. He has 5 1/2 career sacks, and it’s not like Pace will be confused with Lawrence Taylor any Sunday soon.

The Jets have spent big, signing offensive linemen Alan Faneca and Damien Woody. They also traded for defensive tackle Kris Jenkins.

More and more the Bears look like they got one of the deals of free agency with Briggs. If anything with a $36 million price tag on it can be classified a deal. Remember, Briggs earned $7.206 million last season and Pace was paid $811,250.

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If Briggs was really worth $42 million, someone would have offered it to him. I do think the Bears did well to bring him back, but $36 million for a guy who makes a lot of tackles, but doesn't generate QB pressure is about all he could hope to get. Teams watch film too, and see how often he gets stoned by a back or stood up by a lineman when he blitzes. He just doesn't have it as far as pass rushing is concerned. If it's 4th and 1, and we need a stop behind the line, he's the guy I want reading and reacting to the play. He gets there as fast as anyone I have seen since Singletary on the Bears. Leave the impact plays to Urlacher, Tommie Harris, and the DE trio of Anderson, Ogunleye, and Brown. We are going to be solid, if not spectacular in our front 7 for another 3-4 years, until Wale gets to the end of his deal, and Urlacher starts to slow down.
I am ecstaic to have Briggs back on the Bears, so now all we need to do is move all the remaining money into offensive players, and we might just be competitive enough to make the playoffs.

It's just supply and demand. As Joe mentioned, Briggs doesn't rush the passer. But the bigger issue is the versatility of a 3-4 linebacker who can rush the passer. There just aren't that many good ones available. So teams like the Jets will overpay to fill their 3-4 OLB position because they have no choice. So it's not just that Briggs doesn't rush the passer but that 3-4 OLB are generally larger than normal linebackers because they have to line up at DE. So this isn't really a coup by the Bears as much as a benefit of their system.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on March 3, 2008 4:45 PM.

Count Ayanbadejo out, Bears rescind offer was the previous entry in this blog.

UPDATED: WR Johnson meets Buffalo media, no deal in place is the next entry in this blog.

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