Chicago Sun-Times

June 2010 Archives

Bears unlikely to pursue Jackson

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I've gotten some questions for the Q&A regarding San Diego Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson.

Since ESPN's Adam Schefter mentioned it today, I don't see the point in waiting until Friday to address it.

I liken the Bears interest in Jackson to the club's interest in safety O.J. Atogwe. Sure, the Bears could see the value in adding a player of Jackson's caliber.

But, the reality is, the cost is simply too great.

In regards to Jackson, the Bears would have to compensate the Chargers with draft picks. Bears general manager Jerry Angelo has reiterated that he's not inclined to do that. Besides, the cost is prohibitive: likely at least one first-round pick.

For argument's sake, though, let's assume the Bears did come to terms with the Chargers on compensation. The next challenge is to get Jackson to agree to terms on a long-term contract. He would, at minimum, want to get something similar to the four-year, $47.5 million deal Brandon Marshall got from the Miami Dolphins. Jackson, after all, has as many touchdowns (16) as Marshall has in the past two seasons, and he hasn't been dogged by questions about his character.

Given the team's signing of Julius Peppers to a monster contract, it seems completely far-fetched that the Bears would add another high-priced player.

Jackson is a huge target (6 foot 5), and he's got very good speed. But, I also wonder if he's ideally suited for Mike Martz's offense. You can always fit a good player into any system. But the Bears have insisted that they are pleased with their depth at receiver.

Coaches have spent the offseason raving about their young receiving corps. Evidently, that doesn't mean the Bears wouldn't consider adding Vincent Jackson to a group that includes Devin Aromashodu, Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett and Juaquin Iglesias.

Deadspin.com has posted vintage footage of Walter Payton running the Wildcat formation in a 1984 game against the Packers. Many of you are probably like me and remember virtually every play vividly.

The folks at Comcast SportsNet forwarded snippets from an upcoming interview with Lance Briggs.

Pat Boyle's interview with the Bears linebacker will be featured on "Inside Look," the network's new monthly interview series that debuts on Monday, July 5, at 11 p.m.

Benson busted again

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The running back once dubbed "Cedric the Entertainer" by a former Sun-Times columnist is up to his old tricks.

Questions, please

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It's a quiet time in the NFL off-season, especially since the Bears have signed its rookie class.

But, I figure some of you still have questions. I will post some answers on Friday.

UPDATE: I'm getting your questions, but I'm not posting any of them.

Dan Fouts called back and offered some additional insights into a reader question about whether the offense Mike Martz runs is related to the one Tom Moore installed and used with so much success in Indianapolis. Martz is quick to point out that the offense he is bringing to Chicago isn't "his" but the system he learned from former Chargers coach Don Coryell and later refined.

Fouts, who developed into a Hall of Fame quarterback under Coryell, seemed like the best person to ask.

Admitting that the offensive line as "the team's biggest question mark" wasn't the only thing Jerry Angelo said when he was the featured speaker at the City Club of Waukegan on Tuesday. In fact, what the Bears general manager said about NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and the ongoing labor negotiations drew fire from union reps and could possibly result in a fine from the league.

Q: I know that Martz's offensive system is based on the old "Air Coryell" scheme. Is this in any way related to the offense that Tom Moore runs (or used to run, before his retirement) in Indianapolis? I know that both rely on the quarterback throwing to a specific spot on the field, rather than to the receiver himself. If not, what are the differences? ---- Chris.
A: Great, great, great question. Unfortunately, I don't have a complete answer. The NFL is in shut-down mode. The person I know with the Colts is on vacation. I called Dan Fouts. He played for Don Coryell. He didn't respond right away, either, which means he's likely on vacation as well. Unlike Martz's system, I do know that Moore's offense in Indy requires very little motion before the snap --- except for Manning, of course, who gesticulates wildly while changing plays at the line of scrimmage. I'm intrigued. When I find out more I'll blog about it.

Angelo: O-line "the biggest question mark"

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Bears general manager Jerry Angelo addressed several key positions this off-season. But he acknowledged Tuesday that the offensive line is "the biggest question mark" going into the 2010 season.

Angelo covered a lot of different topics on Tuesday as the featured speaker at the City Club of Waukegan. The Lake County News-Sun, a part of the Sun-Times Media Group, highlighted some of Angelo's comments:

* On the offensive line: "New offensive-line coach Mike Tice likes the group." Angelo added that the younger group is going from "long in tooth to long in diapers."

* He said the new Mike Martz-led offense will be an "attacking offense."

"He (Martz) has a big ego... he will constantly be looking to score. We're tired of sitting back and waiting. We've got to score."

* On NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith: "I have some concern that the new Players Association chief might not recognize a good deal when it's on the table. Not that he's not competent. But he's so new."

Here is the link, to see the entire story.

http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/newssun/sports/2426992,5_2_WA24_ANGELO_S1-100624.article

Cutler high on the offense

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Jay Cutler is about to take a break. But after the Bears final O.T.A. session, Cutler continued to rave about the team's new offense.

"I love it. There's a lot to like about it," Cutler said. "The ball's in the air, and we're doing some great stuff in the run game.

"It's personnel-based, so we're trying to get guys open, trying to find spacing for them and create matchups for them."

Mike Martz's offense is more taxing mentally, Cutler said, because it's new to him and everyone else. But he said Martz has done a good job of communicating with the players.

"But Mike did a great job of getting everybody ready in meetings, doing enough walkthroughs and things out here so everyone would feel comfortable," Cutler said.

"You've got to be happy with where we are. It's something to build on."

Cutler said Martz "makes you want to come to work every day."

"He's so creative, he's doing fun stuff and he's finding ways to win, and that's all you can ask for as a player, to have a coach that loves football and is going to do everything possible to put you in position to be successful," Cutler said. "That's what the great coaches have been able to do, that's how Mike has been in the past, and I don't see him changing his ways at all."

Despite the perception, Cutler said Martz's offense actually makes things easier for the quarterback.

"Once you understand it, it kind of simplifies itself."

Ravens sign Bulger

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Marc Bulger won't be reuniting with Mike Martz in Chicago.

Bulger, the former St. Louis Rams quarterback, signed a one-year, $3.8 million contract with the Baltimore Ravens today, according to ESPN.

It was believed Bulger was hoping for a chance to compete for a starting spot. But the Ravens have Joe Flacco, which means Bulger will clearly be a veteran backup and mentor in Baltimore.

Bears have a "lot of things in store" for Peppers

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Lovie Smith knew Julius Peppers was a good football player. But he's been even more impressed after seeing him in person.

"A 300-pound man, that moves like a defensive back. That's what you're dealing with," Smith said. "He's done everything we've asked him to do. It's hard sometimes for a guy to move into a leadership role, that quick, but that's exactly what he's done.

"We can't wait to take the next step with him."

The next step could be something new, because of the defensive lineman's athleticism and versatility.

"We have a lot of things in store for him, that we haven't done in the past, when you have a special player like that," Smith said.

"I think Chicago Bears fans will love what they see from him."

Smith: "This is a good football team"

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After the final session at the team's voluntary Organized Team Activities, Bears coach Lovie Smith expressed confidence in his 2010 squad.

Asked if the Bears can compete for a playoff spot, Smith said, "Well, as far as compete, that's not our goal.

"We have the same goal we have every year, and that's win the Super Bowl. Win the world championship. It's early on. But I just like the look of this football team. We know what a good football team looks like, and this is a good football team."

Smith overhauled his coaching staff and added several players at key positions this off-season. Smith said Wednesday represented the team's 13th practice together, and he highlighted the strong attendance from veterans at the voluntary workouts.

Veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs were among those absent Wednesday, but both were regulars for most of the previous workouts.

The Bears were encouraged to get Pro Bowl center Olin Kreutz back on the field Wednesday. Kreutz took some snaps at center, his first action since he had surgery in January to repair an Achilles tendon.

Smith said the only "downer" was not having new tight end Brandon Manumaleuna, who has been recovering from minor knee surgery.

"If there's a downer, it's that," Smith said. "But the next time we get together for training camp, we should have all of our players ready to go then."

Smith said the offense is progressing but that "we like where we're at, at this stage."

Individual game tickets to go on sale July 17

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The Bears announced today that individual-game tickets will go on sale through Ticketmaster on July 17th, at 10 a.m.

Tickets range from $68 to $365 and are available at Ticketmaster via phone (800) 745-3000 and on the Internet (www.ticketmaster.com).

For regular season games, there is a limit of four tickets per customer, per game. There is no limit for preseason games.

Cutler not planning to take much time off

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After today's final Organized Team Activities session today at Halas Hall, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler plans to take some down time. But, he said he planned to spend most of July in Chicago, continuing to prepare for the 2010 season.

"Most of July, I'm going to be here, working out," Cutler said on the Waddle and Silvy show on ESPN 1000.

But, Cutler also sensed that his teammates are looking forward to taking some time off.

"I think the guys are getting a little burned out," he said. "We've been going hard since late February. It's been a high pressure situation. A lot of stuff mentally. Its good to get a break, before we really have to grind."

Cutler said new offensive coordinator Mike Martz continues to add new plays.

"We get new stuff daily. Today is the last practice, and we got 10-12 new plays," Cutler said. "He's always got new stuff. It's a lot of pressure on the guys to learn."

Let's try to avoid the "How is so-and-so looking during OTAs,", if possible, especially when it comes to linemen because it's impossible to tell. I know you all want answers to those types of questions but they just aren't available until the season starts.

Otherwise, let 'er rip.

The answers will be posted around lunch time on Friday.

Thanks.

A front-row ticket at Soldier Field for the 2010 season can be yours.

Evidently, the team found some extra space in the south end zone and are offering the new "Touchdown Club Seats" to season-ticket holders.

Here's the early version of a story that appeared in Thursday's editions:

The more Bears players learn about Mike Martz's offense the more enthusiastic they seem to be about what it and they can accomplish.
"It spins every day," receiver Devin Hester said when asked if he has gotten his head around the new offensive coordinator's schemes. "There's a pop quiz every day. We go home and study and have a test coming up the next day."

Jerry Angelo discusses everything from the new offense to rookie Major Wright to the possibility of acquiring free-agent safety O.J. Atogwe in his bi-monthly conversation with ChicagoBears.com senior writer Larry Mayer. (I wish we could that kind of regular access). Here's the link: http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=6833

OTA report

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If you're looking for a blast of NFL football after the Stanley Cup Finals and before turning your lonely eyes to the Cubs and Sox, Devin Aromashodu caught a touchdown pass from Jay Cutler on a short post route between Craig Steltz and Zackary Bowman on Wednesday. Cutler talked up his receiving corps in an interview on the "Waddle and Silvy" show on WMVP (AM-1000) that I posted earlier, but it was little-known Rashied Davis who was most impressive at a Bears offseason workout at Halas Hall on Wednesday afternoon.

Jay Cutler was a guest on the "Waddle and Silvy" Show on WMVP (AM-1000) on Wednesday morning. He was promoting a charity event to benefit juvenile diabetes. The event is July 22 from 7-10 p.m. Go to JayCutlersix.com for more info.

Here are his answers to the most pertinent questions:

Martz can help Hester, Muhammad says

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Former Bears receiver Muhsin Muhammad said he believes new offensive coordinator Mike Martz can help Devin Hester's development as a receiver.

In an interview during the Waddle and Silvy Show on ESPN 1500, Muhammad likened Hester to Steve Smith, the Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl receiver, who started his career as a return specialist.

"One of the things that we did in Carolina (for Smith) is we kept it simple," said Muhammad, who played with both Smith and Hester. "You don't need a lot of plays or be complicated with what you're doing in order to make plays and be successful.

"I think Mike Martz is a guy that can come in and create opportunities for Devin Hester make it simple for him and just make him play fast and not have him think as much on the field. So if that occurs he can be that guy. I mean he has all the physical tools to be that guy."

Muhammad admitted he wasn't "that big of a fan of Ron Turner," and he called the hiring of Martz a "great move."

But Muhammad took a swipe at the Bears recent history with receivers, noting how he, Justin Gage and Bobby Engram had success after leaving Chicago.

"I would love to see Devin Hester be the number on guy. I would love to see Devin Hester have a successful career in Chicago," Muhammad said. "So prove me wrong is what I'm saying."

Muhammad spoke glowingly of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, recalling a game when he was with the Panthers and Cutler was still in Denver.

"Jay Cutler just came out and flat out threw the ball," Muhammad recalled. "He was dropping dimes in the holes. I mean he was threading the needle. He has all the intangibles."

Interestingly, though, Muhammad may have been referring to a Dec. 14, 2008, game against the Broncos in Charlotte. The Panthers won that game 30-10, and Cutler was just 21 of 33 for 172 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Your answers

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Q: Considering the use of the shotgun formation in this offense, is not being able to practice and work out going to set (Olin) Kreutz back too far? He has never been very good at the shotgun snap, and we have a much greater risk of turnover in the Martz offense as it is. If we can't manage the snap, we are in for a long season. Martz uses more under-center passing, but our offensive line is going to struggle in pass protection again, so there will end up being a lot more shotgun formations in my opinion to preserve Cutler's life.
Joe Felicelli

 
A: The scheme may be new, but the center to quarterback exchange is not. Kreutz and Cutler had plenty of chances to work on that snap last year; Cutler had 256 pass attempts out of the shotgun, which was tied for 17th. Granted, the Bears didn't exactly thrive out of that formation, as Cutler's passer rating was just 67.5, with a league-high 16 interceptions and just nine touchdowns.
I agree, that Kreutz hasn't excelled with the shotgun snap. But, I don't think the time he's missed so far this off-season is going to hurt him, in that regard. Frankly, I think it's more important that Kreutz is as close to 100 percent as possible, given his advanced age (33).
 
Q: I noticed in the posting regarding the training camp schedule, there are no two-a-days. With the Bears implementing a whole new offensive scheme (and having young receivers to boot), don't you think that they may need all the practice they can get? I can understand altering the schedule due to extreme heat, but do you think they will be ready?
Eric T.
 
A: I think the days of traditional two-a-days has gone the way of the dodo bird.
Overall, contemporary players do a better job of staying in shape during the off-season, so coaches don't have to "whip them into shape." In addition, with trainers and doctors more mindful of heat exhaustion and overexertion, players aren't subjected to old-school tactics like coaches denying water breaks or making them sprint until they drop.
In Minnesota, Vikings coach Brad Childress put his players through a rough training camp in his first season. But, he eased back in each of the seasons since. Last year, for instance, the Vikings had two practices most days. But, having attended almost all of them, I can assure you that the morning sessions were glorified walk-throughs. I don't know how many fans I met who were disappointed to even attend them since the players basically stretched, warmed up then literally walked through plays, mostly on special teams.
Technically, the Bears - on occasion - will have two practices. But I expect those sessions won't be all that interesting to the untrained - or even trained - eye.
 
Q: Who are looking like the second-team cornerbacks this year and how do they look? Peanut  (Charles Tillman) most likely will get dinged up again and we need some depth behind (Zackary) Bowman and him.
 
Pete
 
A: In all honesty, Pete, I think it's way too early to tell. I know that's not the answer you were looking for, but I think the Bears intentionally want to head to training camp to see who emerges at the position. Right now, eight cornerbacks are on the roster. In the regular-season finale last year, the Bears had five cornerbacks on the roster.
Frankly, after Bowman and Tillman, the remaining players aren't handcuffing the team. What I mean is, all of them are expendable. After dumping Nathan Vasher, the Bears have a bunch of young players who have flashed potential. The most experienced of the bunch is Tim Jennings, who is 26 years old and has 21 starts under his belt.
If he doesn't pan out, the Bears are out $250,000 (his initial roster bonus). And if Josh Moore (their fifth-round pick) doesn't show he can contribute right away, then the Bears would be out $198,000.
 
Q: My question is in regards to Albert Haynesworth. He is refusing to show up for the Redskins (except when his contract mandates it) due to their new 3-4 scheme. He wants to play in a 4-3 penetrating scheme. Looking at his contract, the Redskins have paid out the majority of the front loaded money. Would it (behoove) the Bears to give them a second-round pick and let the teams we face decide who they are going to double team: Haynesworth, (Julius) Peppers or (Tommie) Harris? I think we could all but remove the blitz packages from our defense. Is this feasible?
 
Jim from Milwaukee
 
A: With no salary cap in place, anything is possible. But, the Bears have already maxed out their credit, so to speak, with the McCaskeys. And while they're always looking for talented players, I certainly don't think Jerry Angelo, Lovie Smith and company can justify asking for a player like Haynesworth. While his impact is obvious, Haynesworth is doing nothing to debunk his reputation for having a questionable work ethic.
 
Q: What will it take for Robbie Gould our kicker to make the Pro Bowl?
Bearman
 
A: The obvious answer is to be among the best kickers in the league. Since Gould went after the 2006 season, when the Bears played in the Super Bowl, three other kickers have taken their turns: Nick Folk (Dallas), John Carney (New York Giants) and David Akers (Philadelphia).
Obviously, there's not a lot of favoritism, with one guy earning a spot several years running. Last year, Akers and Nate Kaeding of the San Diego Chargers were the two leading scorers, among kickers.
Akers didn't have as high a conversion percentage (86.5 percent) as Minnesota's Ryan Longwell (92.9), but Akers did score seven more points. Gould was 14th in the NFL, with 106 points (33 fewer than Akers), and his conversion percentage was a solid 85.7. In 2006, Gould scored 143 points, converting 32 of 36 field goals (88.9 percent) and all 47 of his extra points.
 
Q: The Bears have four tight ends and despite the high injury rate to tight ends keeping all four would be a luxury.  Brandon Manumaleuna was just signed specifically to fit into Mike Martz's system so he's safe. Greg Olsen is a high draft pick and the best pass catching threat but an unproven blocker.  Desmond Clark blocks and catches well but he's the oldest and was hurt last year.  Kellen Davis is big, young, and plays special teams. So who is likely to go?
Chris
 
A: Well, I think you've provided a fairly solid analysis of the situation. The Bears did pay Clark a roster bonus (I believe close to $500,000) due in March, so they are going to give him a fair shot to make the team.
In addition to the players you mentioned, the Bears also have Richard Angulo, a tall, athletic player who Mike Tice coached in Jacksonville and Minnesota.
It's entirely possible that the Bears may try to trade one of the players. But I have a hard time believing they would part with the most tradeable one, Kellen Davis. He'll turn 25 in October, and he's flashed enough potential that they may not get the value they're looking for.
It's also conceivable that they do keep five tight ends, if they somehow - in their minds - consider Brandon Manumaleuna a hybrid position, perhaps taking a roster spot for a fullback. Eddie Williams and Will Ta'ufo'ou are competing at that position, but perhaps they opt not to keep a traditional fullback.
 
Q: Who would be your personal choice to replace Adewale Ogunleye as a team captain? Logic says Charles Tillman will take his place.
Timmer
 
A: Let's first take a look at last year's captains. They were Olin Kreutz and Jay Cutler on offense. Long-snapper Patrick Mannelly on special teams. And, originally, Brian Urlacher and Ogunleye on defense.
When Urlacher was hurt, he was replaced by Lance Briggs. And when Ogunleye went down, he was replaced by Alex Brown.
I would figure, then, that Urlacher and Briggs might be the defensive captains. But, I do think Julius Peppers has made quite an impression (and a positive one) so far this off-season. I would think Charles Tillman and Chris Harris would also be in the mix.
 
Q: Who is the key to the defense this year? I think its Tommie Harris because Peppers will be double teamed every down. How will we fill the void left by Brown and Ogunleye?
Kris R.
 
A: I also think the key is Harris. As they often say, the defense starts up front and, more specifically, in the middle. And in a Cover Two based scheme, the front four has to generate the pressure on the quarterback, so at least one of your interior linemen has to be a stud.
Peppers/ Harris has the potential to be as much a force as Jared Allen/ Kevin Williams in Minnesota. If they play up to their potential, opposing offenses will be forced to double them, which opens things up for the other two d-linemen on the field. That's why Ray Edwards had such a big season for the Vikings in 2009, and that's why the Vikings are so reluctant to pay him like an elite player. His production was a product of facing a single blocker, and the guys who cash in produce despite double teams.
Harris has been slowed by injuries the couple of seasons, and he has insisted several times this off-season that he's got a clean bill of health for the first time in several years.
Now, let's see if he can return to his Pro Bowl form.
 
Q: Peppers is going to be a force this year which we all know. Is there enough on the other side of the line to make the D-line what they used to be? I don't think Mark Anderson will ever be the same type of player he was his rookie season. He seems to get man-handled by lineman. Do you think the opposite side of Peppers will be effective?
Ro
 
A: Say what you want about Anderson, but he had 12 sacks in one season. And while he hasn't come close to that number since, Anderson is still a very credible player. I believe Anderson might thrive when he's not counted on to play every single snap. I'm not saying he's a third-down pass rusher, just that he's not someone you're going to leave in there the entire game, the entire season. Maybe limit him to half the snaps, rotating him with Israel Idonije.
Worst case scenario, Idonije plays a lot, and he has the mentality you're looking for from a player at that spot. He's relentless, and he'll never quit on a play.
There are plenty of athletes competing for time at defensive end. I think the Bears are in fine shape at the position.

Q: What are your thoughts on Rashied Davis? Do you think the Bears will keep him this year or go with a younger player?
JPGR
 
A: Devin Hester, Devin Aromashodu are Johnny Knox locks, and I think Earl Bennett has a pretty good grip on a roster spot, as well. That means one spot may only remain at the position. Juaquin Iglesias was a third-round pick, so I think the Bears would hate to waste such a high pick in only the second year. That means Davis could be fighting an uphill battle to make the team. But, Davis is a solid veteran, who can help in a lot of ways, including on special teams.
Iglesias will have to earn the spot. 

Roosevelt Taylor, a two-time Pro Bowl safety for the Bears, will be among 15 people inducted into the Grambling Legends Sports Hall of Fame.

Taylor was among the stars of a Grambling defense that helped the team win a SWAC championship in 1960. In 1963, he intercepted nine passes. For his career, he had 32 picks, and he scored six touchdowns.

The headliner of this year's class is Doug Williams, the Super Bowl XXII MVP.

"There is such a legacy at Grambling," said Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Brown, part of last year's inaugural class. "We have so many great athletes to come out of Grambling, and this is a way for those athletes to be recognized because of the things they have done."

The event will be held July 17 at the Monroe Civic Center in Monroe, LA.

Questions, please

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Fire a few my way, folks.

Not a whole lot going on. But, I'm sure you guys have some solid questions.

I will post the answers on Friday.

Sean

NOTE: I am getting your questions, I just am not publishing them. The ones I answer will post Friday.

The Bears announced training camp dates today. Here they are along with everything else you need to know once camp opens at Olivet Nazarene in Bourbonnais.

The following has been lifted from an official release from Halas Hall, by the way:

Weekly Bears Q and A

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Q: Devin Aromashodu proved that he is a worthy No. 1 receiver last season. So why is it that the Bears still think that Devin Hester is their No. 1? Aromashodu outperformed Hester in the limited time he was on the field and was one of Cutler's favorite targets. --- dahlillama

Agent Drew Rosenhaus may not be popular among his peers. But neither they nor anyone else can dispute his ability to promote his clients and himself.

In responding to my request to comment about the Bears proactive approach to signing rookies, Rosenhaus dropped an interesting nugget at the end of our conversation.

"We've never had any gripes with working with them (the Bears)," said Rosenhaus, who represents Lance Briggs, Kellen Davis, Tommie Harris, Israel Idonije and Greg Olsen.

"Hopefully, we'll continue that, and talk to them about an extension for Greg Olsen, and we've had success with big deals for Lance, and Tommie, and Adewale (Ogunleye).

Just last year, we did an extension for Israel."

Later, Rosenhaus added, "The next deal on our list will be Greg Olsen, at some point."

I wrote in January, shortly after the season ended, that the Bears might be wise to try and sign Olsen to a long-term extension.

The 31st pick in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft, Olsen has increased his production in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns in each of his first three NFL seasons. In 2009, Olsen was tied for fourth among NFL tight ends with eight receiving touchdowns, and he was 10th with 60 catches.

Olsen has produced, despite the steady play of veteran Desmond Clark.

He's currently scheduled to make a base salary of $550,000 in 2010, a very modest amount for a player with his credentials. In addition, in 2011, the final year of his rookie deal, Olsen has triggered an escalator that will bump his $650,000 base salary between $1 million and $2 million.

From his perspective, Olsen has to weigh the risk of waiting two more years before he get a chance to land a new, lucrative contract.

But striking a deal could be a challenge.

In April 2009, Rosenhaus negotiated a six-year, $36 million contract for Kellen Winslow after he was traded from the Cleveland Browns to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The deal is the richest ever for an NFL tight end and includes $20 million in guarantees.

Another deal of note was the six-year contract Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek signed in early December. The deal is worth about $30 million and includes about $10.5 million in guarantees.

Just a guess on my part, but Olsen probably is looking for a richer deal than Celek because he has more catches, yards and touchdowns over the last three seasons.

Rosenhaus, naturally, didn't provide a timetable. And I'm not sure the Bears are ready to go there. But it'll be something to keep an eye on in the months to come.

Questions, please

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Answers to your questions to appear on-line Friday.

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