Chicago Sun-Times

The art of the deal: How Berrian reached $42 million

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A day after Minnesota’s blockbuster signing of wide receiver Bernard Berrian, league insiders are still wowed by the $42 million, six-year contract he received from the Vikings. There’s a price to pay when doing damage to your division rival. The Bears have only two wide receivers under contract—Mark Bradley and Devin Hester—who have caught a pass in an NFL game.

The Vikings have a proven deep threat that is going to force opponents to think twice about stacking eight defenders in the box to stop the two-headed rushing attack of Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor. Before you throw darts at the Vikings for overpaying, recall they had the most lucrative offer extended to Kevin Curtis last offseason and he spurned them for Philadelphia. A good offense got better.

It’s been hailed as one of the three or four best contracts for a wide receiver in the league. And it goes to a guy who has yet to make a Pro Bowl or have a 1,000-yard season. But consider there is some projecting involved with the contract. Berrian played with Bears quarterbacks, several of them, and it’s not fair to pass judgment on an offensive player on this team over the last four seasons.

The Bears changed starting quarterbacks 10 times in Berrian’s four seasons. It went like this—Jonathan Quinn, Craig Krenzel, Chad Hutchinson, Kyle Orton, Rex Grossman, Orton, Grossman, Brian Griese, Grossman, Orton.

We’ve got a good handle on how the numbers stacked up for Berrian all along, including when the Bears first went to him last June with a contract proposal that included $8 million guaranteed.

A look at the numbers:

June 2007—Bears propose a six-year extension to Berrian that would add five new years and gurantee him $8 million.

July 2007—Berrian’s camp took its time getting back to the team with its proposal. Berrian asked for $40 million in a five-year extension with $23.85 million paid over the first three years of the deal. That’s a key number to remember.

February 2008—Before heading to the combine, the Bears offered Berrian a $25 million, five-year contract with $8 million to sign. His camp didn’t respond. Berrian made it be known he wanted a deal that averaged $8 million annually and included $18 million guaranteed with $24.5 million paid over the first three years.

Friday—The Vikings and Berrian’s people broke off conversations late at night with Minnesota believed to be offering a deal worth roughly $6 million per season. The Bears remained on their number of $25 million over five seasons reasoning if he wanted to play for the Bears, that was a good contract.

Saturday—Berrian’s camp worked the numbers up with a trip to Oakland hanging in the balance. The final figures were not far off what Berrian asked for during the summer—$42 million over six seasons with $16 million guaranteed and $23 million over the first three seasons. The Bears never came off their initial offer.

Receivers everywhere are ecstatic. Imagine what Randy Moss is angling for now.

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11 Comments

...Lets stop crying over spilled milk! No way in the history of 2nd tiered or "B list" players is Bernard Berian worth throwing away $42 million dollars. So "disgusted or anguished Bears fans," we should be more disturbed that Grossman still resides in Chicago and his backup is "Lumberjack" Kyle Orton. Why can we never get the QB situation straight in Chicago (Since Jimmy Mac in '85) we've had too many bums at quarterback. Please Mr. Angelo before i decide that paying $150.00 for 16 season games to watch my beloved Bears on dish or cable is a total waste of my time, PLEASE HAVE A CLUE AND DESIGN SOMETHING UP IN THE F.A. OR DRAFT ROOM SO WE (TRUE BEARS FANS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY) SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO. NOT CEDRIC BENSON UP THE MIDDLE FOR TWO OR THE FIVE YARD SLANT ROUTE TO BRADLEY IS OUR MOST EXPLOSIVE PLAYS ON OFFENSE. WE'RE WASTING AN ABOVE AVERAGE D-FENSE ON CRAPPY OFFENSE (AS IS THE CASE EVERY YEAR IN CHICAGO).

Hey dude, your all-caps is on. Its like your yelling in my ear.

Anyway, 42 million for Berrian was waaaaaaaaaaay overpriced. Good move by the Bears to leave it. And Brad, the Bears may have had 10 QB's throwing to him but only Grossman really connected. And Grossman is better than anyone the Vikings have. Tavaris Jackson?!?!?And scrub FA's? Berrian was deep speed and one dimensional. Hester can replace that as proven the last few games. Now...they need to put that money saved into a revamped offensive line which I imagine they'll do during the draft.

Oh yeah, a couple more things. People respected Grossman-Berrian (7 men in box), not Greise-Berrian (8 men in box).

And why is everyone simply forgetting Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark? As long as the offensive line is fixed and another RB comes in, and now there's money for it, I see lots of two tight-end sets which also bodes well for the running game. If I was a corner, I'd be sweating much more looking across at Hester than Berrian.

Either way you Bears fans ar going to be watching Berrian run right past your overrated defense 2 times a year. Then if you decide to drop back and actually cover the ex Bear Adrian Peterson will make you look like a fool, just like the first time. T-Jack didnt have anyone to throw to, and when you have 8-9 guys in the box and they see it is a pass how long do u think he has to get rid of the ball. Sidney Rice/Bernard Berrian/Adrian Peterson/(Limus Sweed possibly) will be haunting Bears fans dreams for years, have fun with it.

Where oh where do these people like "Jim" (above) come from? Talk about delusional. Is Jerry Angelo posting here? Yeah, corners all over the league are going to be sweating the new offense: two rookie lineman, a rookie running back, with Hester and the injury-prone Bradley. Boy, league defenses are going to soil their dipers over that.

You know what won't be haunting my reality this year? Living in Minnessota. Can't say the same for you. Before you get all fired up and start using words like "T-Jack" on a Chicago blog, maybe you should look out your window as a reminder of the grim truth that is Minneapolis. The Metrodome is a piece of crap.

Now, you make your moves, we'll make ours. We'll see what happens. I hope you enjoyed All Day's miracle season. You didn't even make the playoffs, and you Viking fans act like you're champions.

All Day might as well change his name to Never Again. At least against the Bears. Let's see if he ever rushes for 100 against us again.

And Berrian is going to suck for you. Peanut will put him on absolute lockdown, and Vasher will pimpsmack Sydney Rice. But good luck though.

I guess I'm one of the few Bears fans who aren't COMPLETELY CLUELESS. You people seem to think it was a good thing the Bears passed on paying a 42mill contract to Berrian. *Newsflash, geniuses* - that contract is what Berrian got in the open market. If the Bears had made a reasonable extension offer, they could've locked him up for years at a significantly lower price and kept him from ever hitting the open market. Just like they did with Urlacher a few years ago and are now paying him peanuts.

GET A CLUE, PEOPLE. And stop saying ignorant things like "I'm glad the Bears didn't pay 42 million for him."

You Bears fans are idiots. Berrian left town as fast as he could because he couldn't stomach the thought of another year spent trying to haul in wounded duck passes from your two inept QB's. At least the Vikings are going in the right direction. We have something to hope for now. T-Jack is only in his second year. Rex was washed up the moment he was drafted. Have fun fighting for 3rd place with Detroit.

Berrian is gone. Now that we have got past that time to look to the future. We have Bradley/Hester/Davis/Hass. We could have randy moss but until we get a OL fixed and a running back that can do more than fall over. Draft a OL in the first round and grab a WR in the second round. I dont want to see people start saying we should take a WR in the first round. Only 2 players have ever had a 1000yards in there rookie year as a first round WR. And if the OL isn't fixed why pay a guy to run up and down the field while the QB is on his back.

And T-jack had a awesome 9TD passes last year. Berrian will help but come on when did he ever show you in any game that he was a half way decent QB. Have fun with that.

Great news. Now Wrecks and Lovey have reasons why Wrecks can't hit a receiver. He now has non!! Great plan !

I'm not sorry to see Berian go. He was overrated and dropped too many crucial passes last year. He might have been our best receiver, but that was not saying much, really. Plus, I'll never forget that whiffed attempted "block" at the goal line last year against whatever team it was. That showed no heart.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on March 2, 2008 2:38 PM.

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