Bears lock up 1st-round pick Olsen

Bears lock up 1st-round pick Olsen
TE gets 5-year deal; Briggs talks revived

By John Mullin
Tribune staff reporter

July 3, 2007, 10:26 PM CDT

Bears general manager Jerry Angelo always has maintained he and the team have had a good working relationship with agent Drew Rosenhaus, the Lance Briggs franchise-tag impasse notwithstanding.

The era of good feelings continued Tuesday when the Bears agreed with Rosenhaus client and first-round NFL draft pick Greg Olsen on a five-year contract. Olsen, the 31st player taken overall, is the first pick in either the first or second rounds of the 2007 draft to come to terms with his team.

Rosenhaus, who has been in Chicago the past couple of days, also brought with him several ideas regarding Briggs’ contract that he hopes will interest the Bears.

“We presented some concepts that we think will work for the Bears and for Lance,” Rosenhaus said, declining to elaborate on specifics.

Adding urgency to Briggs’ situation is that July 16 is the deadline to do long-term contracts with players having the franchise designation.

Meanwhile, Rosenhaus and his brother Jason have been working with the Bears on Olsen and were at Halas Hall on Monday and Tuesday to hammer out the deal with contract negotiator Cliff Stein.

The contract can be worth up to $10.69 million and includes incentives as well as a creative bonus package on base salaries of $285,000 for 2007, $460,000 for 2008 and 2009, $550,000 in 2010 and $650,000 in 2001.

Olsen receives a signing bonus of $250,000 plus a roster bonus of $720,000 this year. He has incentives that will pay him an additional $575,700 in 2007 if he participates in 35 percent of the snaps. In subsequent years the incentive is triggered if he plays in 45 percent of the snaps.

Rosenhaus and Stein also spread out the traditional second-year option bonus in a structure that gives the team latitude in later years rather than loading the entire bonus into the second year. Olsen receives a bonus of $3.545 million in 2008, with roster/reporting bonuses of $100,000 in 2009, $140,000 in 2010 and $125,000 in 2011.

“I was very confident this would be a smooth process,” Rosenhaus said. “We worked well with the Bears and got to a point and a number where both sides were satisfied, which is the sign of a good deal.”

The Bears have led the NFL in signing draft picks each of the last two seasons and have only No. 2 pick Dan Bazuin, No. 62 overall, unsigned with the start of training camp still more than three weeks away. Last season they had their top pick, safety Danieal Manning, taken in the second round, signed on July 7.

Rosenhaus’ proposals for Briggs are the first sign of any progress between the two sides after what can be described only as a tense off-season. The Bears, after failing to get a long-term deal worked out, placed the franchise tag on Briggs in March, guaranteeing him $7.2 million for one season.

Briggs responded by threatening to sit out the first 10 games of the season. “People are misinterpreting the difference in getting Lance’s situation worked out versus other dealings,” Rosenhaus said. “It’s the franchise tag. That is just very difficult.”