Lance Briggs vows contract demands won't affect play

Lance Briggs pledges that his contract demands – he wants a new deal or to be traded after this season – will not affect his performance on the field this season.

The weak-side linebacker for the Chicago Bears, who has been named to six consecutive Pro Bowls, has come out with less than two weeks to the start of the regular season and let it be known he’s not happy.

"I'm going to go out and play the game the way I've always played it and see what happens," Briggs told Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. "I'm going to plug away and do what I've always done. I'm here to help us win a championship."

Briggs is entering the fourth year of a six-year, $36 million contract. The deal was front-loaded and there were roster bonuses in the first three years of the deal. Now, it’s leveled off and he’ll earn $3.65 million this season. His base pay climbs to $3.75 million in 2012 and tops out at $6.25 million in 2013. Briggs has looked around to see what other less decorated linebackers are earning, and he wants more.

From the Bears’ perspective, he had a chance to maximize his value when he was an unrestricted free agent in 2008. The Bears, in fact, were the only team to pursue him in free agency. The Bears renegotiated with middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, but he never tested the open market.

Briggs turns 31 in November and knows the market won’t be hot for a 33-year-old if he has to wait until his contract is up, even if he continues to play at a Pro Bowl level.

"It's not just about me,” Briggs said. “I know there are guys on our team that deserve to be paid and should be paid. And I do act as a voice when I have an opportunity to do so. I've been that way all my life.

"I want Matt Forte, Chris Harris, these guys who deserve long-term deals to be Chicago Bears for a long time and help us win championship after championship."

Sorry, when you bring up pay and make it clear you’ll seek a trade if you’re not paid, it is about you.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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