The Bears agreed to a one-year contract extension through 2014 with the Pro Bowl linebacker, keeping one of their cornerstone players happy.
A person familiar with the situation said the new deal basically guarantees about $8 million over the next two years. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the terms were not released.
Briggs, whose six-year, $36 million contract would have expired in 2013, was scheduled to make nearly $4 million next season. Instead, he gets a $3 million bonus up front, along with a $250,000 workout bonus and $3 million in salary.
His salary for 2013 is $4.5 million, with $2 million guaranteed and $4.75 million for 2014. The deal also includes $250,000 workout bonuses in 2013 and 2014, plus roster bonuses of $1 million and $500,000 for those seasons.
“I’m grateful,” Briggs said. “I’m just very appreciative right now that the work has been recognized and that it got handled as fast as it did.”
Agent Drew Rosenhaus met with new general manager Phil Emery and lead contract negotiator Cliff Stein at the combine, and they agreed to table the discussions until the Bears addressed other roster needs. Once they resumed talks, it didn’t take long to reach an agreement.
With three years left on a six-year, $36 million contract, general manager Jerry Angelo basically told Briggs at the time to leave him alone when the linebacker asked for permission to seek a trade if he couldn’t get a renegotiated deal before the season. Briggs said he thinks they would have reached an agreement even if Angelo had not been fired following an 8-8 finish.
“There were some times where it was kind of difficult dealing with Jerry. At the end of the year, we had some open talks with Jerry, and he voiced that my contract is something that needs to be addressed,” Briggs said. “It just so happens that he got fired the very next morning.”
Briggs vowed he would never play “another down for Chicago again” after the Bears slapped the franchise-player tag on him for the 2007 season. He wound up accepting a one-year, $7.2 million contract and agreed to that six-year deal in March 2008.
Now, he hopes to finish his career in Chicago.
“My dream is to retire a Bear, and I know that I will retire a Bear,” he said.