Posted by Will Brinson
The Chicago Bears have plenty to worry about in 2011 -- namely, as Pete Prisco wrote Sunday, making sure their offensive line keep Jay Cutler upright.
Add to the list of concerns: the happiness of linebacker Lance Briggs and running back Chester Taylor.
According to Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune, Taylor was informed by running backs coach Tim Spencer just before the Bears game Saturday (a 14-13 loss to Tennessee) that he wouldn't be playing against the Titans. Taylor didn't sound thrilled about the news.
"Yeah, I'm disappointed,'' Taylor said. "I'm practicing all week thinking I'm going to play. Just for them to come out of the blue and say that, yeah, I'm disappointed."
Taylor's seen a reduced role since the team signed Marion Barber this past offseason, but didn't get action even when Barber left with an injury. Instead, Kahlil Bell got 11 carries, turned them into 48 yards and beefed up the possibility that Taylor could be cut.
Briggs doesn't have the same issue, but his concern -- money -- is much more problematic for Chicago, considering that the 30-year-old linebacker isn't as expendable as Taylor.
Per McClure, he approached the Bears requesting more money on a deal that already has three years remaining, primarily because of the large number of linebackers (A.J. Hawk, Jon Beason, Thomas Davis, Lawrence Timmons, to name a few) who received big contracts this offseason.
McClure also notes that Jerry Angelo, when asked about the possibility of giving the linebacker a raise, "obviously isn't too thrilled with Briggs' request."
And it's likely that he'll be less thrilled if Briggs demands a trade in the event he's not handed any more money, as McClure believes he will. (The linebacker has apparently "made it clear" that such a demand is coming.)
It's possible the Bears could consider giving him more cash, but given his age and injury concerns (he hasn't played in the last two preseason games because of a knee bruise) and, most importantly, the three years left on his deal, it seems relatively unlikely.
Especially when you consider all the issues Briggs had with his last contract, which came a year after he made a serious stink about signing his franchise tender and never playing for the Bears again.
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