The Washington deal was apparently revisited on the eve of the draft, but neither the Bears nor Redskins would back off of their original demands. It was rumored that both the Bills and Giants were possibly interested, but Jerry Angelo did not field a phone call from either team. It's possible that Angelo's asking price was too high, but I just think that teams were afraid of Briggs' contractual wishes and having to commit that much guaranteed money to satisfy Drew Rosenhaus.
I was stone cold convinced a month ago that Briggs would be wearing another uniform come next season, but I'm pretty confident he'll still be a Bear whether the fans want him around or not.
Would you expect the Bears to add another player in free agency or a trade? Could we expect the Bears to trade a player (Brown, Ogunleye, Muhammad, Anderson, Briggs)? – CThomas1941 (El Salvador)
Briggs was the obvious candidate for a trade, but since that did not happen on draft day, I'm expecting him to suit up for the Bears at some point in 2007. None of the other names on your list strike me as potential trade bait, although there has been speculation that Alex Brown could be had for the right price. With the emergence of Mark Anderson last year and the drafting of Dan Bazuin this year, I guess it's not beyond the realm of possibility that Brown could be deemed expendable.
Personally, I'd be blown away if they moved Brown because he's still a pretty good player, doesn't make an obnoxious amount of money – his salary next season is $595,000 – and he's one of the most respected players in the locker room.
Which of the draft picks was most impressive to you at mini camp? And did any of the undrafted guys look good? – Barry (Lakewood, IL)
No question about it that Greg Olsen looks like the real deal, but he better considering he's the first-round pick and all. I thought Garrett Wolfe looked real good catching the ball out of the backfield and in the slot, and his speed can't be denied. Michael Okwo was the quickest of the linebackers by far, so he looks to fit the mold of a Cover 2 weakside linebacker.
In terms of the non-contract invitees, receiver-turned-tight-end Fontel Mines out of Virginia caught absolutely everything thrown his way and probably earned a trip to Bourbonnais for training camp.
What's with all this talk about the NFL going to a 17-game schedule and having each team play one game abroad every year? Is Roger Goodell crazy? – Bruce (Lake in the Hills, IL)
I don't think Goodell is crazy, although this idea certainly seems pretty crazy to me. The logistics of a trans-Atlantic flight in the middle of a season would be a nightmare, even if the teams would be given a bye immediately before or after in order to prepare. Now I wouldn't be shocked if the NFL eventually moved to an 18-game regular season with just two preseason games, but this is primarily public relations talk about trying to make the game global.
And since NFL Europa has only proven to be remotely successful in Germany, maybe Goodell should just accept the fact that the league will have to earn its $10 zillion per year away from foreign soil.
Do you see Garrett Wolfe stepping in right away as the backup to Cedric Benson, or will Adrian Peterson be able to hold him off? - Coleman (Dothan, AL)
Since most coaches tend to be loyal to their veteran players, I'm expecting Peterson to open the season as the No. 2 running back and getting a handful of carries spelling Benson. But offensive coordinator Ron Turner is going to have a package specifically put in for Wolfe, you can be sure of that. His ability to score every time he touches the ball has been missing from the Bears' backfield for quite some time.
I'm guessing Peterson will be gently faded out so he can continue his dominance on special teams and Wolfe will get more and more action as the 2007 season progresses.
Do you think Bobby Wade will start against us for Minnesota? What about Calvin Johnson possibly starting against the Bears this year? – MadMan77
The Vikings are in really poor shape at receiver, and Bears fan who saw Wade play while he was in Chicago can be convinced that he is the answer to their troubles. Minny signed Wade with plans to use him as a slot man, so his role will probably be similar to what Rashied Davis does for the Bears. The Lions, on the other hand, had two very productive wideouts last year in Roy Williams and Mike Furrey, so I'd expect those two to open the season as the starters.
That being said, I believe Johnson is an incredible talent and a can't-miss superstar, so look for him to see a ton of action in those three-wide sets that offensive coordinator Mike Martz loves to use.
I see that Tank Johnson is due to be released from jail on Sunday. What kind of shape can we expect him to be in these days? – Chuckie (Tacoma, WA)
I think it's safe to say that the training equipment maintained at that Cook County correctional facility isn't quite as nice as what Johnson sees every day at Halas Hall. Fortunately, he will be getting out of jail well in advance of training camp and should have plenty of time to work himself back into shape in the preseason. Remember that Jamal Lewis, then of the Ravens, was released much closer to the start of the regular schedule, so his conditioning just never looked to be on target that year.
The Bears organization has been behind Johnson pretty much from the start, although it will be very interesting to see if he's in attendance for veteran mini camp next weekend.
What's so special about this Eric Weddle kid that San Diego wanted so bad in the draft, and why did they give up so much in order to get him? – Mickey (Dyer, IN)
Weddle, a safety out of Utah, was a fairly hot name leading up the draft primarily because of his versatility – he did everything for the Utes except drive the team bus. I would have loved to see Angelo stick at No. 37 and select Justin Blalock, the mammoth offensive lineman out of Texas, but the offer the Chargers made was just too good to refuse. Angelo picked up two extra picks in the 2007 draft and a third-rounder in 2008, so since he was not going to find a starter for this season at that spot anyway, it made sense to go ahead with the swap.
Safety was a big problem for the Bolts last season, so I guess they see Weddle as their potential Troy Polamalu.
If there is one veteran on this team who is most in jeopardy of being cut in training camp, who would it be? – Adrian (Michigan City, IN)
The Airese Currie Era came to a screeching halt this week, and I heard that he actually sprained a knee packing his bags at Halas Hall and is already on injured reserve again. All kidding aside, there are a few veterans that need to have solid performances at training camp with nine new draft picks entering the fray. My vote would have to go to Chris Harris, who seems to have gotten worse instead of better his two years as a Midway Monster and misses way too many tackles for someone who's supposed to be a rough, tough safety.
The funny thing is that fifth-rounder Kevin Payne replaced Harris down at Louisiana-Monroe when Harris left for the NFL, so Payne might take over for him yet again here in Chicago.
You were all over Chris Leak on Chicago Tribune Live this week. Admit it, are you just hating on another Gator because you went to FSU. – Edgar (Waldo, FL)
I know people are saying that I'm anti-Leak just because I attended Florida State and have joked quite often about the Bears locker room having too many Gators and Hurricanes. So naturally, they take a Miami guy with their first-round pick this year (Greg Olsen) and then immediately sign a Florida guy as an undrafted free agent (Leak). It's my job to be as unbiased as possible and cover the team to the best of my ability, but I'm still a human being and will never lose my allegiance to my beloved Seminoles.
That being said, his showing at the NFL Combine proved to me that Leak does not have what it takes to be a quarterback at this level, and his up-and-down performance at mini camp this past weekend did very little to change my mind.
|John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and Editor in Chief of BearReport.com. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.|