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Thursday Links

Another case for the Bears being closer to being contenders than our record might show.

While no longer near the area code of being a Super Bowl contender as Smith might suggest, the Bears indeed aren't that far away from being a playoff team. The first weekend proved that about a team that lost seven of its nine games to teams that finished .500 or better (the other two came to the 7-9 Lions).

That might sound like revisionist history. But given the grim sports present we find ourselves in, it's all we have in Chicago.

Matt Hasselbeck could have been a Bear.

Matt Hasselbeck received a job offer his first year out of college. The salary was six figures, with a spot on the Chicago Bears' 53-man roster secure for at least three weeks. All he had to do was leave the Green Bay Packers.

Recently retired Joe Gibbs expects the Skins to be thrifty this year.  Perhaps that keeps prices down on Briggs and Berrian.

That doesn't mean the Redskins won't pursue Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs for a second offseason or replace Shawn Springs with a younger cornerback. Except for late safety Sean Taylor, all players who started the 2007 opener are under contract for 2008.