Briggs Caves and Signs Tender Offer

If this was truly a game of chicken, Lance Briggs just veered off the road. Briggs swore he would never play another down for the Bears, but after months of bickering back and forth, he signed his one-year franchise tender offer Wednesday afternoon and will be in Bourbonnais for training camp soon. GM Jerry Angelo played his hand perfectly and will have the Pro-Bowler for one more season.

Per the Chicago Bears:

LAKE FOREST, IL — Chicago Bears Pro Bowl weakside linebacker Lance Briggs agreed to sign a one-year contract with the Bears for the 2007 franchise tender amount today.

A veteran of four NFL seasons, Briggs was named to his second consecutive Pro Bowl following the 2006 campaign in which he recorded a career-high 176 tackles with 117 solo tackles and 10 tackles for loss, a sack, two interceptions, nine pass break-ups, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. After starting all 16 games for the third consecutive season, the 2006 second-team AP All-Pro has started 61 of 64 career games played.

Selected in the third round by Chicago with the 68th-overall selection of the 2003 NFL Draft, Briggs led the Bears in 2004 with 168 total tackles and 10 tackles for loss in his first season playing weakside linebacker. The Sacramento, California native started all 16 games for the first time in his career that year, leading the squad in tackles in eight contests while establishing a single-game career high with 17 tackles in one game. Briggs was a second alternate for the Pro Bowl following the 2004 season. In 2005, Briggs was named to his first Pro Bowl after registering 170 tackles while establishing career highs with two sacks, two interceptions and 13 pass break-ups to help him earn consensus first-team All Pro honors.

Briggs started 13 of 16 games at strongside linebacker as a rookie, finishing the season tied for fourth on Chicago with 81 tackles. Making his first career start on Oct. 5, 2003 at Soldier Field in a win vs. Oakland, Briggs' 61 consecutive regular season starts rank as the third-longest current streak on the team.

JC's Take: Briggs is certainly making me look rather smart here. I said all along that he would break his holdout and report to the team some time before Week 1, but he caved even sooner than I had originally expected. The two-time Pro-Bowler is essentially a one-year mercenary and will leave Chicago as an unrestricted free agent after the 2007 season. This really is the best way the whole situation could have worked out for both parties. The Bears get a proven player for one more year before replacing him with either Jamar Williams or Michael Okwo, and Briggs gets a big hunk of change and the ability to market himself to the other 31 teams in the NFL.

John Crist is the Editor in Chief of BearReport.com and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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