Reflecting on another whirlwind day in free agency ... boy, that came together quickly between Bernard Berrian and Lance Briggs Saturday afternoon. The foes from their high school days—Berrian was on the losing end at Atwater, Calif., High against Briggs at Elk Grove (Sacramento, Calif.)—cashed in just hours apart.
It’s a good bet Berrian’s deal of $42 million over six seasons will resonate as the biggest stunner in free agency this year. More stunning than the complete lack of a market for Briggs, who is in position to net $43.2 million over seven seasons when you factor in the franchise tag he played for last season.
But the money Briggs got is not too far off the $33 million, seven-year extension the team put in front of him two years ago. A lot of that money would already be in the bank. When you weigh the money he got playing for the tag last season, it probably comes out about even. Of course, now he’s further away from another contract. The bottom line is the Bears retained an elite defensive player who can only help the unit improve after a disappointing 2007.
-- Wide receiver Devin Hester has joined the list of players on the current roster the Bears are working to extend. Team officials discussed that very matter with his agent Eugene Parker at the scouting combine.
Where’s a good place for a Hester deal to start? Well, Hester’s camp would probably tell you $42 million over six seasons.
-- Yes, the Bears will explore options at wide receiver in free agency. But it just became a greater priority in the draft. Bryant Johnson is visiting the Bills starting today. If Buffalo puts the right contract in front of him, he will sign. The Bears view Johnson as a younger (and thus faster) Muhsin Muhammad.
-- Speaking of wide receivers ... ESPN.com's Mike Sando did an interesting note on the Bears' depth chart. They have only four receivers under contract right now -- Hester, Mark Bradley, Mike Hass and Brandon Rideau. Rashied Davis has not signed the one-year tender offer he received as a restricted free agent.
Sando points out the Bears, Kansas City and New England are the only three teams with only four receivers under contract. Hey, plenty of space available in Darryl Drake's meeting room.
-- Kicker Robbie Gould and defensive end Mark Anderson are in line for extensions, too. Gould had to get a kick out of the free-agent deal Josh Brown agreed to Friday with the St. Louis Rams. He picked up $14.2 million over five seasons with a $4 million signing bonus. That makes Brown the highest-paid kicker in league history, a position
Gould would no doubt like to be in. Gould made 63-of-72 field goals over the last two seasons. Brown, in that same stretch, was 53-of-65.
-- Linebacker Demorrio Williams canceled his free-agent visit with the Bears after Briggs signed. Then, he picked up a $16 million, five-year deal from the Kansas City Chiefs. The NFL Network reported it included $5.5 million in guaranteed money. Williams was to visit Tampa Bay Monday before coming here.
-- Wide receiver D.J. Hackett could be on the Bears’ radar. Teams that have shown more interest thus far—Tampa Bay, San Francisco, Tennessee, Washington and his former team, Seattle.
-- Between a delay in the Philadelphia airport where tight end John Gilmore began his journey Friday, and a layover in Charlotte, N.C. (he must have been on US Air), he spent more than 10 hours in airports.
``It was worth it,’’ Gilmore said Saturday morning as he was doing what else, going through the security line at Tampa International Airport after signing his three-year deal. ``I’m glad it’s over.’’
-- Special teams Pro Bowler Brendon Ayanbadejo will receive an award today from UCLA from the school’s African-American alumni group.
Time to power down the laptop for a few hours. Check back during the day when we look for updates in Day 3 of free agency.