Cooler heads are prevailing in the Lance Briggs trade story, or hype. Today's Post quotes Joe Gibbs calling the news "Just a bunch of rumors." Vinnie Cerrato, Daniel Snyder's mini-me, is quoted "we don't comment on rumors." Everybody take a chill pill and calm down.
Hogs Haven goes in depth on how the story came about, citing several sources, the most intriguing of which is Tandler's Redskins Blog. Rich Tandler is the dean of Redskins bloggers. He writes infrequently, but incisively, on his blog. He repeated Jay Glazer's tale of how Daniel Snyder and Briggs and his agent Drew Rosenhaus got to talking in a Phoenix bar about Briggs. That seems to have triggered Snyder's acquisitive instincts. Somewhere in the conversation, Snyder threw up, figuratively, the "proposal" of trading the Skins #1 pick for Briggs and Chicago's #1 pick to Rosenhaus who called the Bears and the "confirmed story" was off and running. Confused? go to Hogs Haven (several stories) or Tandler's for the full account.
Rosenhaus is said to be one of Snyder's favorite agents. I don't see how that serves the Redskins. The team, Snyder in particular, get mentioned in every story about every disgruntled player. I suspect agents, especially Rosenhaus, of surfacing those rumors to bid up offers for their clients.
The Lance Briggs case is instructive on several levels. Briggs is operating on his rookie contract. He was (under)paid the league minimum $750,000 in each of his past two Pro-Bowl seasons. In his place I would not only want to be paid top dollar, but would want to recover the income my past performance warranted. What's more, he wants to participate in this year's super heated free agent market.
Enter super agent Drew "the Shark" Rosenhaus with combative tactics to force new terms: the claim of unfairness; the threat to hold out; the stated refusal to play for the team; participating at the bare minimum to meet contract requirements. We've seen these tactics before. Turn on your wayback machine to Terrell Owens and his gay adventures in Philadelphia in 2005. (I haven't had so much fun blogging since.) T.O. is repped by Rosenhaus.
The Bears have a legit general manager in Jerry Angelo who can play brinkmanship as well as the next guy. He won't be bullied by the tactics, or panicked into a trade. I think he will call Briggs' and Rosenhaus' bluff to sit out ten games. Maybe $7.2 Million isn't the most Briggs could get, but it's still ten times more than he made last season. The Bears may be pushed to move if and after Briggs no-shows. Until then, I'm not so sure. No one on the Redskins plays that role, except Joe Gibbs. He's suspect, but may have done good service slowing up a Briggs trade.
The Redskins should pay close attention to the Lance Briggs case. It may fore tell their future. Chris Cooley is a premier, pass catching tight end playing on his 2004 rookie contract. He is scheduled to make $850,000 this year and will be a free agent in 2008. Alge Crumpler signed a six year, $14.325 Million contract in 2004. Jeremy Shockey is working under a contract that will pay him $850,000 this season, $2.2 Million in '08, and $3.0 Million in '09.
Cooley is performing better than his pay. Fans would like the Skins front office to find more like him: competent role players who can grow with the team and signed to affordable contracts that parallel their playing life. Briggs would like the freedom to negotiate a deal in this unusually rich free agent market. If Rosenhaus were Cooley's agent, Chris might want the same. If Rosenhaus is Cooley's agent next season, he might use the same tactics, if the Redskins name him a franchise player. Hmmm.
If that happens, at least Resenhaus won't drop Snyder's name as a potential suitor.
Trivia: Drew Rosenhaus represents: London Fletcher-Baker, Santana Moss, Clinton Portis and Sean Taylor.
Photo: Drew Rosenhaus and Terrell Owens, sportsillustrated.com from here.