Bears

View from the Moon: Talks off, but far from over

View from the Moon: Talks off, but far from over

Friday, March 11, 2011
Posted 5:07 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Wake me when its over.

That was the reaction of one football fan I suspect more than one - early Friday as time ticked away on the second extension for negotiations between the leagues owners and players. In the end, the sands ran out and darkness settled over the land.

So unfortunately, its not over. And probably wont be for awhile.

The NFLPA demanded disclosure of financials by a deadline this afternoon. NFL owners didnt comply. The union decertified, renouncing its union status with a terse simple statement:

The NFL Players Association announced today it has informed the NFL, NFL clubs and other necessary parties that it has renounced its status as the exclusive collective bargaining representative of the players of the National Football League. The NFLPA will move forward as a professional trade association with the mission of supporting the interests and rights of current and former professional football players.

So the talks are broken off, pretty much as expected by many despite whiffs of optimism. As Bears President Ted Phillips suggested Friday, an agreement will be worked out at some point.

But that point isnt here yet. In a prepared statement at the end of Fridays talks in Washington, D.C., federal mediator George Cohen was closed things down officially:

During this extensive period a wide variety of issues, both economic and work-related, were addressed in a professional, thoughtful manner consistent with what one would expect can take place in a constructive, corrective bargaining setting. Those differences were explored at length. Consensus emerged in a number of them and in others, differences were narrowed and focused.

Regrettably, however, the parties have not achieved an overall agreement nor have they been able to resolve at this time strongly held competing views that separate them on core issues.

In these circumstances, after reviewing all of the events that have transpired, it is the considered opinion of yours trulythat no constructive purpose would be served by requesting the parties to continue mediation at this time.

Now the matter moves from mediation to litigation. The point for the union, such as it is now, is to file an antitrust action in court, which would be expected ultimately to require some disclosure of financials. How much information is problematic, because owners do not want Congress or courts taking actions that could shake the foundations of the sport structure as it now exists, including the exclusivity on incoming players that teams enjoy through the draft

The expectation now becomes that little will really happen until sometime this summer, possibly even September based on some comments. The union did decertify in 1989 and eventually the result was the institution of free agency beginning in 1993.

The players are saying now that theyre not a union. Appeals will be coming. Best guess is that things will slog along with painful slowness until matters approach the precipice beyond which money starts being lost by one or both sides.

And as more than a few fans have said, Wake me when its over.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Under Center Podcast: Chris Simms fixes the Bears

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USA Today

Under Center Podcast: Chris Simms fixes the Bears

Laurence Holmes is joined by NBC Sports NFL analyst Chris Simms live from radio row in Miami as they try to fix the Bears. They also discuss what the Bears can learn from the San Francisco 49ers and their head coach Kyle Shanahan.

(1:57) - How to fix the Bears/Trubisky

(6:54) - What would he tell Mitchell Trubisky

(9:24) - What people don't understand about Khalil Mack

(11:44) - Kyle Shanahan is a football genius

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

Under Center Podcast

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Bears' odds to sign Teddy Bridgewater just got better

Bears' odds to sign Teddy Bridgewater just got better

When Bears GM Ryan Pace selected quarterback Mitch Trubisky with the second overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, he referred to future Hall-of-Famer, Drew Brees, as the kind of passer he envisioned the former North Carolina product becoming. After three underwhelming seasons under center in Chicago, Trubisky's fallen way short of those expectations. It's unclear whether he can even become an average starter at this point.

The 2020 offseason is expected to bring competition for Trubisky and it's most likely to come via free agency. Pace will have an opportunity to tap into the Brees-led Saints quarterback room to find that competition, as all three passers (Brees, Taysom Hill and Teddy Bridgewater) are scheduled to hit the open market.

The reality, however, is that only one of the three will likely be available. According to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, it'll be Bridgewater.

RELATED: Top 30 free agents of the 2020 NFL offseason

Brees will call his own shot; if he wants to return to New Orleans, he will. And while Bridgewater played well enough to warrant a starting opportunity in 2020, he'd also serve as the perfect starter-in-waiting for the Saints. But that player is Hill, who Glazer said New Orleans views as a legitimate franchise quarterback.

This is actually great news for the Bears. Of the three Saints quarterbacks, Bridgewater would make the most sense as a target for Chicago. He'll turn 27 next season and still has several years of high-level play remaining in his arm. In the 2019 regular season, Bridgewater started five games (he went 5-0), completed nearly 68% of his passes, and threw for 1,384 yards, nine touchdowns and just two interceptions. 

Is Bridgewater an elite player? No. Is he a franchise-changing quarterback? No; but that's not what the Bears are looking for. Instead, Pace needs to sign a veteran who is consistent and reliable enough to support an elite defense with enough points to win. Trubisky's failed mightily at that, and Bridgewater proved in relief of Brees in 2019 that he's not only capable of it, but he can thrive in that role.

Bridgewater's projected market value is a three-year, $60.1 million deal (or $20 million per season) per Spotrac. It may seem like a lot of money to pay to a quarterback whose signing wouldn't come along with a guaranteed starting job, but when combined with Trubisky's $9.3 million salary in 2020, as long as the Bears receive quality play from whoever their starting quarterback is, the cost will be in line with those teams that have respected starters on their payroll.

It's possible Bridgewater won't sign with a team that doesn't promise him the starting job. But is a promise even needed with Trubisky being the only roadblock in Bridgewater's way? It wouldn't take long for him to distance himself at the top of the depth chart, and maybe, once and for all, the Bears can enjoy some Saints-like quarterback play. 

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