Chicago Sun-Times

Devin Hester, you're next at the negotiating table

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If you can pull yourself away from the hand-wringing going on over Brian Urlacher’s contract demands, the Bears have turned their business focus to another player, Devin Hester.

The team and representatives for the returner/receiver have plans to discuss their situation this week, and a face-to-face meeting involving agent Eugene Parker is possible. The team got serious with the Rosenhaus brothers two weeks ago when they came to town to work on a deal for defensive tackle Tommie Harris. When those efforts stalled, the decision was made to move forward and laying the groundwork for a longterm extension for Hester, who is signed for two more seasons, is a top priority.

The sides have had talks since the combine but negotiations have yet to become serious. The Bears are motivated to get Hester, Harris and kicker Robbie Gould inked. The uglier the Urlacher situation turns, the more interesting it will be to see how general manager Jerry Angelo proceeds. The team holds all the leverage with Urlacher having four years remaining on his existing contract and desiring multiple years be tacked onto it.

Reaching an agreement for Hester isn’t going to be simple. But if he goes out and has a productive season as a receiver while continuing his assault on the record books as a returner, it’s going to be even more difficult a year from now.

Stay tuned.

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15 Comments

Hester and Harris need to be signed before Urlacher's situation gets addressed. They have to be Angelo's priority.

Renegotiating a new deal for Hester makes sense for the Bears but not Hester. If in two years he turns into the next Steve Smith as a receiver, he will be back looking for more money because the BEARS will not pay him like a top receiver now because he's not. Hester should take out a big policy and roll the dice and look for $7 - $ 8M per year in 2010.

This one will be interesting. I am sure Hester's agents will want him to be paid like a premier wide receiver, but the simple fact of the matter is that he is not. I expect there will be a lot of escalator clauses in his contract to account for his future development as a wideout. I am concerned that because of the money they will have to pay him, he will be used as a WR more, and as a return man less. The coaching staff has been saying they will allow him to spend more time on offense, and will be strategically placed on returns. I know the guy is amazing, but to ask him to flip the switch when we need a big play without giving him the consistent reps and game play in the return game is a bit much to expect out of the kid. It is rarely his first return that scores (not counting the Super Bowl). It is usually later in the game, after he gets to see how they play him and where the seams can come from. We need to keep him on the return units, and take the WR development as gravy.

I suggest $3-4 million per season, which would make him the highest paid special teamer in history, with incentives at 65 catches or something like that to escalate the deal if he pans out as a WR. The coaching staff seems to think he can do it, but they have frequently misjudged talent on this team, and I don't know if Hester has the necessary mental makeup to be a premier receiver.

The contract should be an incentive-laden escalator for his continued improvement as a wide reciever and in 2010 if met can be paid among the elite KR/WR like Steve Smith of Carolina otherwise a return man no matter how great can demand millions.

Okay, my biggest grip this offseason has not been the pursit of any big time free agents but the wanting of new contracts after a losing season. If they had just gone to super bowl last I would understand but they had a losing record and didn't make the playoffs. I can understand Hester and Harris but Gould and Urlacher. Harris and Hester are amoung the best at what they do, both voted to pro bowl last two years. Urlacher and Gould were not voted into the probowl. I understand that Urlacher and Gould we not part of the reason we didn't make the playoffs but we still finished last in the division. There is no sugar coating that. LAST!!!! g How about getting the organization out of last and then talk new contract.

NO DEVIN HESTER NEEDS A NEW CONTRACT NOW WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT IN 2010. HESTER NEEDS TO GET HIS MONEY NOW AND WITH THE WAY THE PLAYERS ARE RUNNING THE LEAGUE NOW HE CAN MOST LIKELY GET ANOTHER DEAL IN 2010. HE'S WAY UNDER PAID FOR WHAT HE DOES FOR THE BEARS. TOMMIE IS INJURY PRONE HE'S A HELL OF A PLAYER WHEN HEALTHY BUT IT'S ALWAYS SOMETHING NAGGING HIM FOR WEEKS AT A TIME. BUT IN ALL FAIRNEST ALL THE GARBAGE PLAYERS GETTING ALL THIS MONEY GIVE IT TO HIM HE'S OUR ONLY DT.

They should trade him while his value is as high as it is now. Could probably get a 1st rd pick and a player if not more. I love Hester but like the guy stated earlier, the more he gets used as a WR the less he will get used as a KR, which is his and the teams strength. He is 1 injury from taking away his blazing speed and the more times he has to go over the middle the greater the chance of a 175lb guy getting crushed! KR's normally get worse as their careers go on not better. see Daunte Hall(perfect example) also couldn't hack it as a WR which hurt his KR ability.

Personally, I have a hard time seeing the logic in giving ANY of these players a new contract while they have yet to honor the one they already signed. Yes, Devin Hester is a great returner, but has yet to prove himself as an elite reciever and still has YEARS left on his rookie contract. Tommie Harris is a good DT but is often limited due to injury. All this talk about what a good "christian" he is, yet does not honor his word by fulfilling the contract he signed. Brian Urlacher's best days are behind him. An arthritic back does not just disappear during the off season ! Instead of pouting about how underpaid they are, these young men shoud be greatful they have the opportunity to make MILLIONS of dollars playing a GAME instead of waking up @ 5:00am each day and driving to a construction site, working 10 hrs. a day for $50,000 a year !!!! Consider yourselves LUCKY

mrmick what are you talking about Harris not honoring his contract?? He has honored his contract, the Bears brought him to the table, they want to pay him, he is in the last year of his contract, this is standard practice every team in the nfl does this. Dude and he has nothing to do with what people at a construction job gets paid. The fact is a job pays what a job pays. How many CEO's make 10 times what football players make and make it in only 5 years. Look your not happy with the amount of money you make, but I am not going to rag on anyone for making as much money as they can at a given job. He gets paid millions good for him, I hope he enjoys it. I would be happy to get paid that as well, it's not like the owners are hurting. So good for those guys they got paid and how much they get paid is not really my buisness I don't want to take money ouot of there pockets even if they are rich. You get what you can, some get more than others. Sorry but the world has never been a fair place.

Hester can wait a year. He is not a Premiere Wide Out yet and hasn't proved he will be yet. He has two years left on his contract, the Bears do not need to rush this. Hester Wants top dollar for a position he has not really played. If they give him top dollar for that position and he is a bust at wr then the bears make a bad deal, if they wait a year and he proves he is a top 10 WR then they will pay him as such. No reson to pay him now. Besides take a look at what true Number 1 wr make in the NFL. The bears cannot afford to pay him that this year and pay Harris.

I will be watching this very closely as I am wondering what Chicago can come up with to make all sides happy. Something along the lines of making Hester the top paid special teams player in the league with incentives for play and productivity at wide receiver. Maybe a voidable year if he becomes a regular starter. Either way, as I have said on these boards (and Creighton said earlier) Chicago should wait until he's a #1 to pay him like one.

As for Harris, he's lived up to his contract obligations. If the Bears want to sign him for big money, I personally would wait until he proves he can stay healhy for a full season.

Finally, LOCK UP ROBBIE GOULD! I know he's "just a kicker" but he's a damn good one and someone I want to see in Blue and Orange throughout his career. It's never an adventure when Gould is out there; line up, kick the field goal, get your three points. I love the guy and if there is anyone - besides Hester - who has outplayed his contract, it's Gould.

Hey, Biggsy ... any chance we can have a live draft thread on your blog next Saturday? I would love to see the reactions and speculation from us "die-hards" who've been waiting for something, anything to cheer about since January ... I'll bring the chips and beer :-D

The uglier the Urlacher situation turns? According to the Chicago Tribune it's not that much of a problem. He'll be our starting MLB in 08 and years after. What really causes my blood to boil however is Al Davis' $$$$-happy spending sprees. He throws money all over the place at every player and the end results are 1.) Raiders still suck 2.) All the other players in the leaugue point to there and say, "Why am I not being paid like that? I'm better than so and so." Why Davis does that I have no idea. But he is pretty old and maybe he's looking to take the NFL down with him.

Yeah Da Church is right why are people not talking about Gould he is the best kicker we have had sense Butthead, he was huge in 2006, now there is a guy who earned his money and has not complained or said anything. Where is all the love for the goofey kicker.

Stop saying he needs to be Steve Smith to be worth big money. Hester will NEVER be a Pro-bowl receiver. EVER. But he is a unique player who deserves big money. Just let him score his 2 touchdowns a game returning punts and kickoffs and get us to the Super Bowl and it will all be worth it.

Pay Gould also.

54 is Bear royalty, from 92 {Ditka fired/a discrace} until 2000 the Bears were losers once again. That has happened Payton's 75-83 teams sucked but it was acceptable because we had the one man gang! He made it ok to be a Bears fan. I wouldnt have traded places with Steelers or any other team because Payton made me so proud. My father and his had Butkis and Sayers but no rings and i know they felt the same. After Ditka and Singletary not only losers again we had nothing to give us a since of pride. In 2000 Brian was drafted and I was expecting much if anything did not really even reseearch our 1st pick, Bears were still and always my team but no hope was in sight. Watching him get his first action in the middle was invigorating, i new immediately he was special. He playd with everything only the greatest Bears had, tough, passion, and blessed with athletic ability like ive ever seen and you could tell he would have playd in a playground the same way. Since that time he has done nothing but be a beast. Most important just like past royalty he has had some bad teams but finally he made it cool and feel good to be a bears fan again. I dont think hes asking much 2yr ext 10m garanteed.Chump change and we will make sure Brian Urlacher day at soldier field is destiny. Think what other teams would pay him (what hes worth) and people say he was off last year? Watch film he was there pro bowl cal every game. Yes pay hester, i do belive Bears are giving him a chance to be #1 wr which would command alot more than he does now. Pay Tommie too and lets draft some oline, rb, and any value players at other poss holes. Kyle Orton is gonna shock the world! Believe that i garantee!

hink they should trade urlacher and pay hester more money

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 19, 2008 11:58 PM.

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