What's next (cont.)
Posted: Monday February 5, 2007 12:12AM; Updated: Monday February 5, 2007 3:43PM
With Chicago having so much money to spend under the cap, current Bears thinking appears to be leaning toward applying the $7.2 million franchise tag to Briggs if they can't work out a long-term deal by March. Briggs said Tuesday at Super Bowl Media Day that he might even be open to giving the Bears a hometown discount in contract talks. We'll see how quickly agent Drew Rosenhaus talks him out of that notion.
Rivera and Bears special teams coach Dave Toub both have contracts that expired after the Super Bowl, making them free agents. Chicago wants them back, but Rivera and Toub have the advantage of exploring all options. They have been rumors that Toub will rejoin the Eagles as their special team coach, a position he held in Philadelphia from 2001 to 2003, before joining Chicago.
But Job One for Bears team president Ted Phillips is to extend the contract of Bears head coach Lovie Smith, who was the league's lowest-paid head coach at $1.35 million this season. Phillips said last year he wanted to see Smith put another strong season together before upgrading his deal. Smith did his part, leading the Bears to their first Super Bowl in 21 years. Now it's time for Chicago to do right by Smith, who just finished the third season of the four-year contract he signed in January 2004.
Chicago's interconference foes will be from the AFC West, with tough trips to San Diego and Seattle, who the Bears beat twice this season, including in the divisional round of the playoffs. Besides their six NFC North games, the Bears also will face the NFC East teams, with the Giants and the Cowboys coming to Chicago, and the Bears traveling to Philly and D.C.
Don Banks covers pro football for SI.com.