Recently I found I've been trying to figure out just whose side I'm on in this whole deal with the Bears and Brian Urlacher's new contract demands, so I thought I would list out each side and see where it stands. If you have some that I missed let me know and we can add them to the list.
1) Brian Urlacher, even injured, is still one of the better line backers in this league. Healthy it is hard to say he isn't the best. He is the prototype linebacker for running any form of the Cover-2. Shouldn't he deserve to be paid as a top 3 linebacker?
2) Lance Briggs just got paid. Tommie Harris is going to break the bank and PK Robbie Gould just signed the richest deal ever shelled out to a kicker. Shouldn't the face of the franchise be taken care of?
3) The doctors say Urlachers is 100% healthy. That should not be used as a factor in deciding how much he is worth.
4) The salary cap has risen substantially since he signed his deal. It was 75 million when he signed and 116 now. Surely they have enough room to offer him something.
1) Bears management and coaching staff believe this team still can contend, so long as they take care of the import pieces that need taken care of. See Harris, Gould and Hester. Right now they don't need to be dealing with a guy who still has 4 years left on his contract.
2) Urlacher signed a 9 year deal. His agent and he knew that the salary cap would be higher moving into the future. If they wanted to cash in again they should have worked a smaller 5 year deal and they revisit the contract in the offseason.
3) Urlacher has 4 years left on the deal. Why should they Bears have to rework his deal so soon?
4) Regardless of what doctors say, until Urlacher goes through a full season of grinding and being hit, with no ill affects from his injuries you never know how he will hold up.
5) The Bears offered him an additional year to his current contract. The extension would have contained an additional 5 million up front, an additional 1 million for the next 4 years and the extended 5th year would have paid him a base pay of 9 million. That sounds like a fair deal.
Strictly by the numbers it looks and feels like the Bears are in the right here. I am not saying that Urlacher shouldn't be allowed to ask for a raise or even that he doesn't deserve it, but the one thing Bears management has been able to do is win the public perception vote. They took a hit during the Lovie Smith contract situation, but that was only because Smith outplayed them by keeping quite, but overall the players who want more from the Bears always tend to look like whiny brats.
The Bears have issues like their inability to properly handle our QB situation or their unwillingness to let go of an offensive coordinator who isn't very good, but the one overriding thing they always do well is take care of their own so long as the money is there and they player isn't asking for more than he is worth.