Vasher Wants a New Deal

Nathan Vasher is the latest member of the team to be unhappy with his contract situation. The Pro Bowl cornerback has started skipping organized team activities and becomes the third player to do so.

Vasher led the team with eight interceptions and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2005. Even though the 2004 fourth round pick has two years remaining on his rookie deal, he's looking for an extension. The 24-year-old is due a base salary of $425,000 in 2006 followed by $460,000 in 2007.

While the Bears have been willing to reward players that break in with the organization, the general rule has been to do it with one year left on a contract.

After showing up for mini-camp, linebacker Lance Briggs and running back Thomas Jones have yet to participate in any of the OTAs. Drew Rosenhaus represents both players, who want new contracts but essentially have no leverage.

Coach Lovie Smith's policy has established that a player needs to be around to keep his starting job. Briggs was demoted to second team behind backup Leon Joe, while Jones' continued absence essentially hands the starting job to Cedric Benson.

The Bears signed Ricky Manning to a five-year $21 million free agent contract in the off-season to be the nickel back. For the time being, Manning will join Charles Tillman in the starting rotation.

Covered Behind Center
Monday's injury to Ben Roethlisberger in a motorcycle accident brought home the need for depth at quarterback for several NFL teams -- as well as the potential to require that players have contingencies written into their contracts.

After years of not having a legitimate No. 2 quarterback, the signing of Brian Griese gives the Bears much needed depth behind Rex Grossman. Even third stringer Kyle Orton has 15 games of starting experience.

Roethlisberger broke his jaw and nose and lost many of his teeth when he collided with a car and his face took the brunt of the damage on the windshield of the car.

There have been players that have been forced to sign contracts that don't permit them to do what would be termed dangerous activities like skydiving or riding motorcycles. Kellen Winslow Jr. of the Browns had such language written into his contract, yet still was riding a motorcycle when he crashed and missed all of the 2005 season due to injury.

In the case of the Steelers, it is expected that Roethlisberger will recover in time to play football this season -- his injuries were limited to his face and knees. However, it brings back a point that Bears fans asked time and time again before the addition of Griese -- what happens if Grossman goes down again?

The accident served as a league wide wakeup call. Look for more teams to include language that would prohibit players from doing things like riding motorcycles that could be hazardous to their health and jeopardize the organization.


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