Lance Briggs: "We're championship caliber"

LB Lance Briggs

The Bears this afternoon signed seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs to a one-year contract extension. Briggs says that, on paper, this club can compete with any team in the NFL.

The Chicago Bears today agreed to terms on a one-year contract extension with linebacker Lance Briggs. The seven-time Pro Bowler, selected by the club in the third round of the 2003 draft, is signed through the 2014 season.

Speaking on a conference call with Chicago media this afternoon, Briggs said it didn't take long for the deal to get done.

"This was by far the least amount of time I've ever had with the Bears trying to [work out] a contract," he said. "From about three weeks into free agency until a week or so ago was about how long it took. It didn't take long.

"My agent [Drew Rosenhaus} kind of hinted that he didn't think it was going to take as long this time. We all had a number in our head and they had the same number and we made it happen."


LB Lance Briggs
Bruce Kluckhohn/US Presswire

The extension will pay Briggs $17.5 million over the next three seasons, with $5 million guaranteed. Another $3.25 million is guaranteed as long as he's not cut this year, which isn't going to happen, bringing the guaranteed total to $8.25 million. The extension includes a $3 million signing bonus.

The deal doesn't add a lot of "new" money to the contract but it guarantees more, giving the 31-year-old a sense of peace going forward.

"I'm just very appreciative right now that the work has been recognized," Briggs said.

Last season, Briggs voiced frustration over the six-year, $36 million contract he signed in 2007. Yet former GM Jerry Angelo wasn't willing to re-structure the deal during the season.

Yet Briggs said Angelo had approached him about an extension.

"There were some times when it was kind of difficult dealing with Jerry at times," he said. "But at the end of the year we had some open talks with Jerry. He voiced that a contract was something that needed to be addressed. It just so happened that he got fired the very next morning."

Briggs said the offseason free-agent acquisitions made by new GM Phil Emery are "like a miracle" and that, on paper, the current team can "compete with any team" in the NFL.

"[Emery] went out and got a bunch of guys that are going to help us win a championship," he said. "I know that other teams looking in on the moves that the Bears have done this year know that we're a contender. Even guys that have signed, they signed here instead of other place because we're a contender.

"We're very, very talented. Would I call it the dream team? No, I would not. But I would tell you that we're a championship-caliber team."

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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