- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Trade talks between the Washington Redskins and Chicago Bears centering on linebacker Lance Briggs broke down yesterday, according to multiple sources.

The stalemate developed when the Redskins declined to include second-year linebacker Rocky McIntosh as part of their proposal. The Redskins had offered their No. 6 overall pick for Briggs and the Bears’ No. 31 selection.

Although discussions can re-ignite before the NFL Draft, which takes place April 28-29, it appears unlikely a deal will be completed this week. The Bears seem uninterested in paying millions of dollars to a high draft pick but could approach the Redskins if they have a trading partner for the sixth pick.

“There are times when talking about a trade you say, ‘This is all we’re going to do,’ ” an NFL executive said. “And you think it’s a dead issue. But this is a fluid situation, so it could change.”

Bears general manager Jerry Angelo presented a counteroffer to the Redskins yesterday. But as expected, the Redskins stood by the proposal they made at last week’s league meetings in Arizona.

The Bears want McIntosh because the team doesn’t have a viable in-house option at weak-side linebacker. The Redskins want to keep McIntosh in the fold even though Briggs’ arrival would have made him a backup.

Briggs is a two-time Pro Bowl player who is young (26), durable (he hasn’t missed a game in four pro seasons) and productive (363 tackles the last three years). But a veteran NFL scout wondered why the Redskins coveted Briggs because of the different way he would be used in Gregg Williams’ scheme.

“I thought they were set at linebacker like everybody else,” the scout said. “I’m a little confused as to why they want Lance as bad as they seem to want him.”

The scout said the Bears used Briggs regularly on third down. The Redskins’ philosophy the last three seasons was to use two linebackers — the middle and strong-side backers — and three cornerbacks on third down.

“He wouldn’t be as productive in their defense,” the scout said. “Chicago’s defense is designed to have the weak-side linebacker never be blocked and make every kind of tackle and play known to man. In [the Redskins’ defense], the weak-side linebacker is taking on offensive tackles. He’s not going to be the player for them as he was or will be for the Bears.”

If Briggs isn’t dealt to the Redskins, that leaves McIntosh and Lemar Marshall on the roster to play the position that has been in flux since LaVar Arrington’s injury problems began early in the 2004 season. Warrick Holdman started every game last year, including 14 at weak-side linebacker, but remains unsigned and isn’t expected to return.

The Redskins were the only team to contact the Bears for Briggs. If he remains with the Bears under the franchise tag and reports on time, he is scheduled to earn $7.2 million this season.


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