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Bears should trade Briggs while his value is high
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Columnist

Bears linebacker Lance Briggs sits alone as the game clock winds down during Sunday's loss to Arizona at Soldier Field in Chicago.

 

Rick West | Staff Photographer

Bears linebackers Lance Briggs and Nick Roach laugh on field against the Detroit Lions Sunday at Soldier Field.

 

John Starks | Staff Photographer

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Published: 12/8/2009 4:19 PM | Updated: 12/8/200 6:23 PM

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In honor of Major League Baseball's winter meetings, here's a football column that sprays to all fields.

• News item: Bears career backup linebacker Jamar Williams has 20 tackles vs. the St. Louis Rams.

Response: Why not trade Lance Briggs in the off-season and get a much-needed, starting-caliber offensive lineman and a high draft pick next year, considering the Bears are without their first- and second-rounders?

Or, how about disgruntled Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin?

It makes no sense to pay a small fortune for a Pro Bowl quarterback if you're not going to protect him. And, if Boldin were playing for the Bears now, there's no way Cutler would have tossed 20 picks.

Briggs' value is still sky high and will remain there after he is likely voted to his fifth straight Pro Bowl later this month. As long as the Bears are convinced that Brian Urlacher will recover from his dislocated wrist and be the same player he was, they can afford to sacrifice Briggs.

Nothing against Briggs, because he has been the Bears' best player this season. But that also means he'll bring the most in return in a trade, and the Bears are at least a couple players away from contending for the playoffs.

With a healthy Urlacher joining Nick Roach, Hunter Hillenmeyer and Williams, the linebacker position could still be a strength.

• News item: Bears coach Lovie Smith won't sacrifice wins for the purpose of evaluating talent for the future.

Response: Say whatever you have to say, Lovie, but Chris Williams should take every snap at left tackle for the remainder of the season.

I don't care how great Orlando Pace once was or how much respect he deserves. If Williams can't handle that spot, then he was another lousy first-round pick, and the offensive line is in worse shape than we all think it is.

The Bears already know they have a solid right tackle in Kevin Shaffer, and he deserves some playing time. What they don't know is if Frank Omiyale is a potential starter at right tackle.

Omiyale has been a disappointment at left guard, but tackle is where he has most of his experience. Put him out there now, at least part time, when games mean something, and find out if he can be your starter for the next few years.

That question cannot be answered in minicamp or during OTAs. That would also allow Josh Beekman, perhaps the center of the future, to get back on the field.

• News item: Defensive end Gaines Adams inactive vs. Rams.

Response: This already looks like a horrible trade. The Bears have given up their second-round pick next year, which, if the season ended today, would be between No. 41 and No. 46 overall. In return they've gotten zero solo tackles in seven games from Adams and just 2 assists.

If nothing else, Adams was supposed to be able to rush the passer, but he hasn't come close to sacking a quarterback yet. Too bad the Bears can't call a "do over" on that one.

• News item: Fired Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis would be interested in the Bears' offensive coordinator job.

Response: Ya think? The guy's unemployed. He's interested in any and every coordinator's job in the NFL. By the way, anyone who thinks Mike Martz would be a bad choice as the Bears' offensive coordinator because of his arrogance definitely wouldn't want Weis around.

LeGere's list

NFL's 10 Most Valuable Players, according to Bob LeGere:

1. QB Drew Brees, Saints

2. QB Peyton Manning, Colts

3. QB Brett Favre, Vikings

4. CB Darrelle Revis, Jets

5. CB Charles Woodson, Packers

6. RB Steven Jackson, Rams

7. RB Chris Johnson, Titans

8. RB Adrian Peterson, Vikings

9. OLB Elvis Dumerville, Broncos

10. QB Philip Rivers, Chargers