The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Urlacher Wants New Deal

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Apr 21, 2008 7:15PM

2008_02_sports_urlacher.jpgLast off-season, the Bears sparred with linebacker Lance Briggs over contract issues. Despite plenty of nastiness and threats of holding out, Briggs showed up at training camp, had a good season and then ended up signing a multi-year contract to remain with the Bears for the foreseeable future. Now, after Briggs and a number of other Bears players received contract extensions, Brian Urlacher, the face of the franchise, would like a raise.

While his agent is trying to work on a new deal for the future Hall of Famer, Urlacher has skipped optional workouts at Halas Hall while chilling at his Arizona estate this off-season. A contract ploy? Or simply continued rest and rehab for his ailing back?

"I do feel like I've outplayed my contract, with the way the salary cap has moved," Urlacher said recently. Having signed a nine-year deal in 2003 that was worth $57 million, he mentioned how the league's salary cap growth has reduced the relative value of the contract. He also justified his desire for a reworked deal by mentioning how NFL contracts are not guaranteed -- a team can cut a guy at any point in a contract for poor performance or injury.

Given Urlacher's history of back problems and other nagging injuries, we certainly understand his desire to earn as much now as possible. And given his status among the best in the game, he certainly deserves a contract that pays him accordingly. But has Urlacher actually demanded a trade or threatened to retire?

The situation is getting eerily like Briggs's last year, and the Bears didn't back down then. Will they behave any differently for Urlacher, though? And should they?