Bears Agree to Five-Year Deal with Miller

LAKE FOREST, IL - After some debate the Bears made a decision on who would be their starting quarterback. They didn't have to look far as the team signed Jim Miller to a five-year deal worth $12 million late Friday.

Miller, who led the Bears to their first division title since 1990, will receive a signing bonus of $2 million and base salaries of $900,000 (for 2002), $1.5 million (2003), $1.75 million (2004), $2.5 million (2005) and $3 million (2006).

Those bonuses can escalate if Miller take the Bears to the playoffs.

"We have a good thing going and I wanted to be around to see it through to the end," Miller told Friday night. "I really like the chemistry of our team and the best is yet to come."

The deal will afford the eight-year veteran the opportunity to earn another $20 million in incentives.

There were rumors late in the regular season that the Bears might be among the teams interested in pursuing New England quarterback Drew Bledsoe in a trade, but Angelo recently claimed the move was not a viable option leaving the team to turn back to Miller.

Miller started a career-high 13 games for the Bears in 2001 leading the team to an 11-2 record (13-5 all-time as Bears starter). The Michigan State product opened the final nine games of the regular season before leaving the team's Divisional Playoff game versus Philadelphia in the second quarter with a shoulder injury.

Miller set career-highs in 2001 by completing 228 of 395 passes (57.7%) for 2,299 yards and 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. For his career, Miller has 430 completions in 732 attempts for 4,443 yards, with 23 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.

Miller, 31, had played with three different teams -- Pittsburgh (1994-96), Jacksonville (1997) and Atlanta (1997) -- before signing with the Bears for the final four games of the 1998 season.

He signed a two-year deal with Chicago following the 1999 season after recording two of Chicago's top ten passing performances in team history (422 yards vs Min, 11/14/99; 357 yards at SD, 11/21/99).

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