Did you think that the Lance Briggs situation in Chicago had gone away? Nope. Briggs is still holding out in protest of the Bears applying the franchise tag to him, and it seems that he has support from at least one of his teammates. The Chicago Tribune details an interesting silent protest that occurred at Bears practice yesterday:
With five weeks left until the start of training camp, linebacker Brian Urlacher understandably had nothing to say Wednesday on his way off the field after the Bears' final organized team activity.
Urlacher already had made a statement anyway, subtle yet significant, by wearing Lance Briggs' No. 55 during practice in support of a teammate locked in a contract dispute with the Bears bound only to get worse.
Without Briggs on the field the Bears look very thin at OLB, and without playing Briggs stands to lose $7.2 million this season. What this entire situation reveals is the inherent flaws in the franchise tag. When it was first created it was meant as a means for teams to be able to keep their franchise player, a player the likes of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, or LaDanian Tomlinson. Since its inception however, the tag has been abused by teams. The mere fact that the tag has been used on a kicker not named Vinatieri should be a clear indication that the tag is being abused. As always, there is a simple solution to this problem. In the next collective bargaining agreement the franchise tag needs to be limited to one year. If a team can't work out a long term deal with a star given a year, why should that player be forced to play there for as long as the team is willing to franchise him? Limiting the ability of teams to franchise a player to one year would both maintain the original intent of the franchise tag as well as help to avoid situations such as the one unfolding right now in Chicago.