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Briggs extension close?

The potential signing of Ricky Manning Jr. would give the Bears a lot of freedom in the draft.  Now the Bears are close to an extenstion with LB Lance Briggs, which would on its own allow the Bears to take whoever they thought was the best player on the board.

The long-anticipated contract extension for Bears linebacker Lance Briggs could be announced as soon as today after Briggs' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, spent Thursday at Halas Hall hammering out numbers on a multiyear deal.

Obviously, aside from giving us flexibility in the draft Briggs was a huge piece of our defense last year and to loose him as he continues to get better would be hard for the team to handle.

Teams seldom get much credit for re-signing their players because fans and media prefer big-name splashes in free agency, but retaining Briggs would be as important as any move the Bears could make in the offseason. He is regarded as an improving player, a good teammate and a perfect fit in their locker room and scheme.

If the Bears can reward Briggs with a big early payday in exchange for tying his long-term future to the team, both sides win. He produced career highs in virtually every defensive category last season and was the only Bear to register at least one play in all seven defensive statistics.