Chicago Sun-Times

Harris getting down to business, we'll see if it means deal

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The luncheon Tommie Harris attended Tuesday at Maryville Academy celebrated his performance this past season.

The dinner he attended Tuesday evening zeroed in on the Pro Bowl defensive tackle’s future.

Harris got together with agents Drew and Jason Rosenhaus to meet over the Bears’ latest contract proposal. The outcome of their talks is unknown, but this is much is evident: Things are heating up when the Rosenhaus brothers come to town.

They’re not going to travel to Chicago in the offseason for a casual visit. This is business and if past negotiations with linebacker Lance Briggs are an indication, we’ll know more about Harris’ future soon.

Rosenhaus flew into town two years ago this month to hammer out a deal for Briggs. The sides got close but when talks broke off, it was over. Briggs split the voluntary offseason program in 2006 and wound up playing last season under the franchise tag following months of acrimony and public complaints. Harris said he doesn’t want that kind of drama. The Bears are motivated to get a deal done with no further proof needed than the $16 million they have in available cap room.

We’ll see if the sides get down to business. Extensions for players currently under contract are the most difficult to negotiate. Tougher than any deal in free agency. Harder to nail down than a first-round pick holding out of training camp. It’s a delicate negotiation and the team has to be sensitive to it. You saw what happened last summer when cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Nathan Vasher reached agreement on extensions and talks with wide receiver Bernard Berrian fizzled.

Players approaching free agency have an idea of what they want on the open market. But they’re not on the open market, so it’s impossible for outside parties to establish a true value. The team’s position it is it should not have to pay the going rate in free agency when the player has not arrived at that point. The player does not want to be locked up long term without receiving that benefit (or darn close to it). That’s where tricky negotiations start.

Harris was given the Ed Block Courage Award, the Bears' recipient for this season, based on his recovery from serious surgery to repair his hamstring in December 2006. He rebounded to have a career-high eight sacks despite playing most of the season on an injured left knee. He was also chosen because of his thorough philanthropic involvement.

Stay tuned for developments regarding an extension.


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6 Comments

Bears have to get a deal done with Harris Period, he is a monster and is the most important piece of our Defense. Second order of business is to sign Hester to a long term deal. Before he turns into a good WR sign him for a medium contract and lock him up for 5 years. As for Urlacher he can sit on his hands because he has 4 years left on his contract. My question is if he has a bad year next year can we take half his money back? Have some honor in what you signed...

Right On Mike! The immediate deal AND priority deal is Harris. A premptively "big dollar savings" deal with Hester, in the event he does blossom in to a good WR. Then a defered and later on down the road, ...but mandatory deal, with Urlacher.

Mike I agree with you on Hester and Urlacher, but think we need to be careful on Tommie. While he is my favorite current Bear (3rd favorite all-time behind Payton & Hampton), and when healthy is simply unblockable, but therein lies the problem . . . WHEN HEALTHY.

I'm OK with him getting 2,000lbs of dough, but it better be heavily weighted on his being healthy!

Why is it that no one says anything about the franchise if they release a player before the contract is over every year big time playes with big contracts get released if they don't wanna pay roster bonus or if they have a down year, but when a player wants market value their selfish no NFL is pimpin these players no money is guaranteed like other sports even though nfl players take the most abuse.. owners are greedy they don't have to hit anyone. And they even try to take back signing bonuses when players retire well slap me if i'm wrong but i thought a bonus was the incenitive to sign. Upshaw has not stepped up for the players and the same rules don't apply for the players as for the teams. pay that man he's the best thing the team has had since PAYTON if not NAME ONE THATS MEANT MORE TO THE FRANCHISE SINCE PAYTON!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jae I agree Harris is important but he has not been on the team long enough to compare him to Walter. There is nothing to compare there.

Urlacher has done more for this team than Tommie, Mike Singaletary, Dan Hampton, Mongo, even the Fridge has done more for this team than Harris. Give him a little time without so many injuries and you can make that kind of claim.

Also Harris was offered the highest contract for a DT in the NFL by the Bears and he turned it down. Rosenscum just left Chicago and the talks have been called off.

Well said Creighton! Until Tommie can stay healthy, you can't mention him with the guys you mentioned, and I'll add a bunch more . . . Richard Dent, Otis Wilson, Keith Van Horne, Jimbo Covert, Tom Thayer, Mark Bortz, Jay Hilgenberg, Kevin Butler, Robbie Gould, and Devin Hester.

If he does stay healthy, he can be one of the all-time greats.

It saddens me that a man of his character couldn't agree to being the highest paid DT in the league. While I don't know all the details, if that is accurate, I have lost some respect for the man.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 9, 2008 12:06 AM.

Ted Phillips: ``I never said we were talking about an extension [for Urlacher]" was the previous entry in this blog.

Stacking up Harris with top DT contracts is the next entry in this blog.

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