It’s not often that I respond directly to columns. But, respectfully, I think the Chicago Tribune’s Steve Rosenbloom got it wrong when he said if the Bears actually respected Brian Urlacher they’d have made a decision already.
The Bears have made a decision. It goes like this: Hi, Brian. We’ll pay you X amount of dollars to come back on a one-year deal because we have salary cap concerns, an entirely new coaching staff, and, quite frankly, we’re unsure if you’re healthy enough to stay on the field for us. We love you, but it’s the best we can do.
Urlacher’s camp has yet to make the decision.
Maybe I’m arguing semantics, but the Bears are the ones who hold the cards in this situation. The team is down to its last starting linebacker and they still hold the cards. Why? Where are all the teams banging down Brian Urlacher’s door to sign him in Free Agency? They don’t exist, friends.
I’m not saying it’s Bears-or-bust for Uralcher in 2013. But apparently nobody is willing to pay the 34 year-old what he’s asking the Bears for or we would have heard about it by now. His agent would have made sure of it.
The offer to Urlacher from the Bears, whatever that may be, is nothing more than a gilded ultimatum.
Team president Ted Phillips made things clear when he told the Tribune’s Dan Pompei from the NFL owner’s meetings, “The reality is we would like nothing more than for Brian to finish his career as a Bear. I still remember the day we drafted him. He played safety in college and he’s turned into one of the best middle linebackers and Chicago Bears in history. I hope his career ends with us.”
There are two things in there: A. “I hope his career ends with us,” and B. Phillips makes it obvious that the ball in in Urlacher’s court. The offer is on the table, kids, and it’s Brian’s decision to make, so don’t get mad at us when he says no. Oh, but if he does say no, we hope he just decides to retire. And so on.
To Rosenbloom’s point, it sounds to me like he either wants the Bears to pony up and pay Urlacher what he's asking for or tell him they're not interested and move on. I simply fail to see the upside in either scenario.
Maybe there’s some wiggle room in the Bears’ offer, and maybe a deal gets done. But make no mistake, the Bears have made a decision they’re comfortable with. They know what they are willing to pay for a 2013 Brian Urlacher who comes with a lot of questions.
They already paid Brian Urlacher to be the player he used to be; they’re not going to do it again.
Subscribe to Chicago Bears Huddle:
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. Our list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.