Sunday Quick Shots: Devin Hester can complain about his contract. Brian Urlacher can’t. Both signed long-term contracts that turned out to be too long, but Urlacher fought for his nine-year pact. The Bears forced Hester into his four-year deal.
Devin Hester can complain about his contract. Brian Urlacher can’t.
Both signed long-term contracts that turned out to be too long, but Urlacher fought for his nine-year pact. The Bears forced Hester into his four-year deal.
NFL teams generally insist on signing draft picks for at least four years. Draft picks who make good then become a huge bargain. All Hester wants, and all Lance Briggs wanted last year, was what Urlacher got five years ago when the Bears tore up the last two years of his five-year, $5.5 million contract to give him a $57 million deal that paid him $15 million the first year.
Tommie Harris, in the last year of his five-year rookie pact, also has more leverage than Urlacher. The Bears probably would have already re-signed him if the defensive tackle didn’t have injury concerns, also an issue with Urlacher.
Trying to Win Without a QB
The Vikings signed Bernard Berrian away from the Bears and now traded for NFL sack leader Jared Allen to play next to Pro Bowl tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams. If the Vikings had a quarterback and a coach, they’d be the class of the NFC. Because they don’t, they could still finish third behind the Bears and Packers — but only if Chicago and Green Bay answer their own quarterback question marks.
Don’t Cry for Me, Soriano
The Cubs briefly look like the 1927 Yankees, leading the majors in runs and ranking fourth in walks, and everyone wants to dismiss injured $136 million leadoff man Alfonso Soriano. Yes, Soriano rarely walks. And, yes, patient hitting is the best sign to hit the Cubs since they traded for Rick Sutcliffe in 1984.
But don’t blame Soriano for a 30-year Cubs’ bad habit. And when he comes back, he won’t wreck all that progress. Instead, he should make a good team even better. The Cubs might — just might — win the division without him, but they’ll be the best team in the entire National League if Soriano returns to form.
Sox’s GM Starts to Make Cents
The biggest mistake a baseball general manager can make is throwing $10 million plus per year at pitchers who are injured (Andy Pettitte), bad (Chan Ho Park) or both (Carl Pavano). The next-most common error is signing more than one average $10 million pitcher. Kenny Williams signed five. Trading two of them (Freddie Garcia and Jon Garland) might be his best move since signing A.J. Pierzynski.
Thomas Can’t Hurt Sox with A’s
Good to see Frank Thomas latch back on with the Oakland A’s. He’s the perfect Moneyball player: lots of walks and homers for few dollars. He should play for Billy Beane. And the White Sox should be thankful that he stayed out of the AL Central.
Assistant sports editor Matt Trowbridge’s Quick Shots on Sports appear Sundays. He can be reached at 815-987-1383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.