Bears Buzz: Marc Trestman Named Head Coach

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After firing Lovie Smith and a whirlwind of interviewing 13 potential candidates, the Bears finally made there decision Tuesday evening. Marc Trestman will be the 14th head coach of the Chicago Bears. Out of all the available options Trestman seemed the most unconventional choice being removed from the NFL since 2004, but hey when have the Bears ever done things by the books? General Manager Phil Emery is trying to shake things up again; which could prove to be inspiring or completely disastrous.

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The 57 year-old head coach comes to Chicago from the Montreal Alouettes a member of the Canadian Football League (CFL). While head coach for the Alouettes (2008-2012), Trestman led his team to two Grey Cup championships – the CFL’s equivalent to a Super Bowl Championship. The most important thing is Trestman is and has been a winner in the game of pig-skin.

Montreal Alouettes' head coach Trestman holds up the Grey Cup after defeating the Saskatchewan Roughriders during the CFL's 98th Grey Cup football game in Edmonton

In his early years of coaching Trestman did some bouncing around the NFL. His most memorable stints include: offensive coordinator for 2002 Oakland Raiders who went to the Super Bowl, OC for the 1995 49ers in their hey day, and OC for the 1989 Cleveland Browns with Bernie Kosar (when they were good). Trestman knows a thing or two about offense, which is what the Bears need right now. However, he has no experience as a head coach in the NFL. The people may need some convincing.

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In Trestman we trust

Logically the decision is a stunner. The Bears are a charter NFL franchise in the league’s second-largest market and could have hired anybody and we pluck a guy out of the CFL. Bruce Arians – a likely NFL coach of the year candidate – had just interviewed with the Bears on Tuesday. Trestman got the job over Arians as well as other Super Bowl champion ex-coaches.

If Trestman was as talented as the Bears front office believes, why haven’t other NFL team’s gone after him? Is Emery a mad-man or were other factors involved? Was it money? It’s said that Trestman had agreed to keep much of the defensive coaches in tact during his interview, while Arians had intended on bring his own defensive coaches.

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It all seems a little crazy, but if Brandon Marshall is excited for the Bears’ choice, so am I. In Trestman we trust – at least for the first season. There will be a press conference at Halas Hall at 11 AM on Thursday where Trestman will address the media for the first time as head coach. #beardown

Briggsy got his extension

Number 55 will be in a Bears uniform through the 2014 season. The Bears crossed another item off their offseason “to-do list” Wednesday when they agreed to a one-year extension for linebacker Lance Briggs.

“My dream is to retire a Bear,” Briggs said, “and now I know I will.”

The decision seemed far more painless than previous attempts for the seven-time Pro Bowler. His agent worked with GM Phil Emery during the NFL scouting combine in February and once the Bears addressed their offseason priorities, Briggs extension was worked out.

“It is by far the least amount of time that I’ve had talking with the Bears on a contract. I’m just very appreciative right now that the work has been recognized and it got handled as fast as it did,” said Briggs.

Easy as pie.

Da Bears Making Da Moves

What’s that you hear? Oh that was a collective sigh of relief coming from Chicago Bears fans. Finally the Bears have acquired a top NFL wide receiver, and we caught ourselves a big fish. Three-time Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall is taking his talents from South Beach to Chicago’s South Loop. Giddy up!

The Bears traded Marshall from the Miami Dolphins Tuesday for their third-round draft pick in 2012 and 2013. Last season, Marshall caught 81 passes for 1,214 yards and six touchdowns -free agency was on Chicago’s side.

In his first big move as the Bears new general manager, Phil Emery reunited Jay Cutler with one of his go-to men from his Denver days. For the entire three years Cutler has spent in Chicago, he’s been seeking a big target with reliable hands and next season he will have his chance to show us what that arm can really do. Marshall will wear No. 15 with the Bears, the same number he donned in Denver.

The 6-4 Marshall instantly gives the Bears’ offense, running under first-year coordinator Mike Tice, a big-time playmaker.

“I think he’s going to be great for Jay and our offense,” linebacker Brian Urlacher told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s cool that he and Jay played together in Denver so there is some familiarity.”

I can’t wait to see this offensive beast in a Bears uniform. Here are some highlights, Bear down!

 

Matt Forte Slapped with Bears Franchise Tag

The Bears will have their Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte in a Chicago uniform for the 2012 season, but he’s doing it Phil Emery’s way. Last Friday, the Bears placed their franchise tag on Forte, he now joins Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson and Saints quarterback Drew Brees in the “Franchise tag club”. This one-year agreement will pay Forte $7.7 million for this season — a $7.1 million raise from his 2011 salary.

Forte was reportedly offered a deal that guaranteed roughly $14 million, but as the first Bears running back to go to the Pro Bowl since Neal Anderson (if you don’t remember it’s because it was in 1991) most would assume he was looking for something closer to the five-year, $43 million contract with $21 million guaranteed that Carolina gave DeAngelo Williams.

“Matt is an important part of our football team and we chose to utilize the franchise tag to ensure he remains a Bear,” Bears general manager Emery said. “We believe in Matt as a player and a person. Our intention is to continue to work to find common ground and keep Matt as a member of the Chicago Bears in 2012 and beyond.”

So this move locks down Forte for a year, but does this make the Bears seem cheap? Will this decision be perceived as the organization not wanting to pay their star what he deserves? Will this prevent high profile free-agents from wanting to sign with the Bears? Chicago really needs a wide receiver. They have roughly $17.3 million in salary-cap room remaining if Forte signs the offer. The question is, how are the Bears going to use it?

Side Note — For those of you like me, you understand the majority of football, but when things like “franchise tags” get thrown around you immediately think of something like a luggage tag – here’s a little “Franchise Tag 101”.

Definition: The option given to each NFL team to lock up an important player for one year, whose contract is set to expire, without signing him to a long-term contract. Each team gets the option of one franchise tag, and the deadline to use it this season is Monday, March 5 (today).

The Bottom Line: it has everything to do with the NFL’s salary cap. Teams ultimately want to squeeze as many good players under the salary cap as possible. There are two ways to do this: sign a player to a long-term deal spreading his salary out over many years OR assign the franchise tag. Rarely do teams have enough room under the salary cap to offer every one of their good players a nice extended contract, so assigning the franchise tag guarantees the team a crucial player without having to take a long-term hit against the budget. The free-agent signing season then essentially begins at the franchise tag deadline. After franchise tags are assigned, other teams know which players are available or unavailable. This tag allows the players the opportunity to prove themselves for a longer-term deal. Common examples are players who are valuable, but might be risky to sign for the long haul– because of age, injury issues, or off-field problems. Players can sign franchise tenders from March 13 through the 10th week of the regular season and can sign multi-year extensions at any point through July 16.

The franchise tag used to be reserved for players that teams really wanted to commit to, said ESPN business analyst Andrew Brandt on ESPN Radio Friday. “It used to be for true franchise players. Now it’s every team looking at who’s their best free agent that year, and that’s why we’re going to see so many tags. It’s a huge management weapon.”

Changes:  This year because of the new CBA, you saw many more franchise tags placed around the league. “Under the previous collective bargaining agreement, the franchise tender was equal to the average salaries of the five highest paid players at the franchise player’s position. Under the new CBA, it’s a more complex formula that consists of dividing the old franchise tender figures from 2006-10 by the sum of the salary cap from 2007-11, and then multiplying the resulting percentage by the 2012 salary cap,” states chicagobears.com.

Feel free to chat up “franchise tags” with the men in your life ladies 🙂