Calculated Mistake

Don't be so sure that Jerry Angelo made a clerical error when he did not ``check'' a box on their offer sheet for Warrick Holdman, which means they chose not to retain their rights to receive a fourth-round draft pick as compensation if the linebacker signs elsewhere.

The organization wants badly to lock players up for years into the future and lowball them if possible. If Holdman is tendered as a fourth round pick at 563,000, it invites some teams to come around and toy with the idea of making an offer.

If there is no compensation involved, in invites a lot more teams. However, few teams are going to give a 3-year veteran who just had his first really good year a big dollar contract, and Holdman is not regarded around the league as a stud type player.

A team may tender Holdman an offer just higher then the Bears total. Then Angelo can make a counter offer forcing Holdman to take it because it's higher (by a buck or two) and it's long term.

Angelo told the Chicago Suntimes he wasn't worried about losing Holdman.

"We have the right to match (any offer)," Angelo said. "That's the bottom line."

The Bears would have seven days to match the contract or lose Holdman.

Holdman's camp was irate at the lower offer after he finished second on the team with 145 tackles and first with 101 solos. His agent, Sean Jones, expects Holdman to receive multiple offers.

''That's very presumptuous [of the Bears],'' Jones said. ''How can they be certain we won't be able to field higher offers? They have a philosophy about tendering lower to save money. Well, Warrick has a philosophy, as well. Other teams will be interested.''

There are reported 17 teams that are interested in Holdman.

The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are considering Holdman as a possible replacement for Roman Phifer and could offer him a deal the Bears would not be inclined to match.

It would be difficult to pay big money all three linebackers (Holdman, Rosevelt Colvin and Brian Urlacher) and Angelo has stated several times he doesn't like to overload the cap at one position.

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