With the Bears and defensive tackle Tommie Harris appearing to be near nitty gritty time for a contract extension to be worked out, you’d have to imagine any deal crafted will make him the highest-paid player at his position in the league.
Harris has to receive more money than Oakland’s Tommy Kelly whether the Raiders’ spending spree this offseason has been sensible or not.
When you talk to offensive coaches around the league, Harris is the first person they are concerned with when game planning against the Bears’ defense. Not Brian Urlacher. Not Lance Briggs. They’re worried about dealing with Harris. The Bears know what his value to the scheme is and that’s why a priority is being placed on ensuring he has help inside this coming season. Dusty Dvoracek is said to be doing fine in his recovery from a torn ACL from last September, but don’t be surprised if general manager Jerry Angelo makes a move for another tackle in the first three or four rounds of the draft.
Here’s a breakdown of three of the top-paid tackles in the game:
Tommy Kelly, Oakland, agreed to a seven-year, $50.5 million contract in February. The deal includes $18.125 million in guarantees with $25.125 million paid over the first three years.
Cory Redding, Detroit, agreed to a seven-year, $49 million contract in July 2007. The deal includes $16 million guaranteed with $20 million paid over the first three years.
Kevin Williams, Minnesota, agreed to a five-year, $33.24 million extension in December 2006.
The Bears are not going to say where they’re at in the thing right now. Anything below what Kelly (who is working his way back from a torn ACL) received won’t be in the ballpark. When you ask yourself if they really want to get this thing done, keep in mind that has been the plan all along and it’s what the club earmarked the bulk of its free agency money to do. The Bears need to address Harris, returner Devin Hester and kicker Robbie Gould. When that’s said and done, maybe they take a look at defensive end Mark Anderson.