Lance Briggs noticed some of the big-money deals that other linebackers received this offseason. And he wants one, too.
Though he has three years left on a six-year, $36 million contract, Briggs confirmed without elaboration to the Chicago Tribune on Saturday that he recently broached the subject of a pay raise with the Bears. And he apparently will demand a trade if he doesn't have a new deal by the end of the season.
Briggs, 30, is scheduled to receive $3.9 million this season (including bonuses), $4 million in 2012 and $6.5 million in 2013, according to the Tribune. The newspaper reported that Briggs has asked the Bears to at least flip the $6.5 million base salary in 2013 with this season's $3.9 million.
Bears general manager Jerry Angelo, who's already trying to work out a new deal with running back Matt Forte, declined comment on Briggs' situation. The Bears are about $19 million under the salary cap.
The Tribune pointed out that Briggs, a six-time Pro Bowl choice, has seen Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk receive $10.95 million (including bonuses), Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons given $18 million in bonuses and New York Jets linebacker David Harris sign for $29.5 million guaranteed in a four-year deal this summer. The Carolina Panthers also signed linebackers Jon Beason and Thomas Davis to lucrative five-year extensions.
Briggs said his contract issues had nothing to do with him missing his second consecutive preseason game Saturday night. He has a knee bruise.
Briggs has expressed contract dissatisfaction before, going public in 2007 and promising to never play for the Bears again before signing a one-year, $7.2 million franchise tender. He signed his current contract the next season.
There is precedence for Briggs' contract demands. Fellow linebacker Brian Urlacher made the same demand in 2008 with four years left on his deal and received a one-year extension that included a $6 million signing bonus and $1 million added to each year's base salary.