Well, this ought to keep Lance Briggs from whining about his contract for at least a few weeks.
The Bears extended their weakside linebacker's contract by an additional year today, meaning he is signed through 2014. It wasn't really a necessary move, but considering Briggs complained about his contract as recently as last offseason (despite the fact that he was in the midst of a six-year, $36 million deal he willingly signed in 2008), it's one that should prevent future storms. One would hope, anyway.
From a purely football standpoint, I'm not sure I like the idea of Briggs being handed heaps of cash. I thought he had a down year in 2011, when he finished with 105 tackles, two forced fumbles, one interception and no sacks. He's 31 years old. It's not like he's getting better. He probably has some good football left in him, but by 2014, his decline will probably be very noticeable.
Still, there are some reasons to like the move. As former player turned Chicago Tribune and National Football Post writer Matt Bowen tweeted earlier, a productive veteran like Briggs being rewarded by the front office will probably go over well in the locker room. Plus, him signing on should mean he'll keep his mouth shut about his contract going forward, which is one less disruption to worry about. Given the choice between having Briggs remain a potential distraction, letting him go so the Bears won't have to worry about him and signing him to an extension of a single year, I think I'd go the same way they did.
This move, of course, leaves one obvious question unanswered: What about Matt Forte? The running back remains unsigned and is skipping workouts rather than signing on as the Bears' franchise tag. It's a delicate situation, but I can't fault the Bears for not caving there. There one thing I'm sure of — paying a linebacker for one more year makes a lot more sense than paying a running back big bucks long term.