34-Year-Old Linebacker – Free Agent
2014 Fantasy Football Outlook
Age 34 awaits Briggs in November, and yet he might be in line for one of the biggest statistical seasons of his career. He probably would have done it last year if a fractured shoulder hadn't cost him...
Lance Briggs Contract Information:
The Bears and Briggs agreed to terms on a three year contract extension in April of 2012, worth a reported $17.5 million.
Briggs (groin) was placed on injured reserve Friday, the Associated Press reports.
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|Tackles||Defensive Stats||Fumbles||Kick Ret||Punt Ret|
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Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Snap Count||Tackles||Defensive Stats||Fumbles||Kick Ret||Punt Ret|
A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
Lance Briggs: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Although he'll be 33 in November, this should be Briggs' best statistical season in some time. Brian Urlacher is gone, and the potential replacements (draft pick Jon Bostic and free agency additions James Anderson and D.J. Williams) aren't on Briggs' level. The last time Briggs hit 130 tackles was 2006, and his defense's increased dependence on him could push him close to that mark in 2013. Even as he keeps pushing past age 30, Briggs continues to be one of the league's top playmakers at linebacker, and 2012 was no different as he returned two interceptions for touchdowns.
Briggs’ upside doesn’t appear to be especially high – he has surpassed 120 tackles just twice in nine years – but his IDP value remains stable thanks to his excellent year-to-year consistency. Seven of the last eight years saw him amass at least 102 tackles, and he is always a good bet to add an interception or two. Briggs' value is especially good in leagues that heavily value solo tackles – Briggs is more of a playmaker than a pile-jumper, and it shows in his average of 5.8 solo stops per game dating back to 2004. That averages to roughly 93 per year, which would have ranked eighth league-wide in 2011.
A persistent ankle injury might have had something to do with it, but Briggs was generally a disappointment in 2010. The long-time star failed to hit triple-digit tackles for the first time since his 2003 rookie season, and his solo tackle total of 76 was also his lowest showing since his rookie year. Still, Briggs is one of the best playmaking linebackers of the last decade, and the six seasons of 100-plus tackles that preceded 2010 indicate he’s likely to bounce back in 2011.
Briggs posted 118 tackles last year, his most since 2006, despite missing two games with a knee injury. He has the potential to improve upon last year’s totals this season, particularly if newly-acquired defensive end Julius Peppers can improve Chicago’s dormant pass rush. Briggs has good range in coverage and has IDP upside as a ball-hawk — he intercepted three passes in 2008, but had just one pick last season. He’s also good for a couple sacks a year.
Briggs has been one of the most consistent IDP performers in the league for half a decade, posting 100-plus tackles in each of the last five seasons while making contributions on the pass rush (1.1 sacks per season on average) and pass defense (1.6 interceptions per year, 3 in 2008). Briggs got some unwanted press attention for showing up at an offseason workout with a bandaged hand, but the injury (he cut himself with a razor) isn’t serious and shouldn’t affect his standing as the Bears’ top IDP option.
Briggs was absent at offseason workouts, but that shouldn't hurt his IDP value for the 2008 season. After topping the century mark in tackles the past four seasons, Briggs is a sure thing to so so again.
Whatever team Briggs plays for, whether he stays with the Bears or is traded, he should keep doing what he does best. That's making 100 tackles with an interception or two, and often a sack and even a touchdown. Briggs is excellent in space and in pursuit, which makes his coverage game among the best in linebackerdom. He is also pretty big for a weak side linebacker and can use his hands well to keep blockers off of him. It's tough to project a player without knowing what team or scheme he’ll play in, but it's not as hard with Briggs considering his scouting and consistency: he's finished each of the last three years in the Top 25 of IDP linebackers and rarely has a weak game, none with fewer than five fantasy points last year. His preseason ranking suffers only due to the uncertainty of where he'll play.
Here’s a trick: Briggs has scored a touchdown in each of his three seasons as a pro. He’s one of the most productive linebackers in coverage in the league. Every year, he makes at least one pick. Every year he scores. And in the past two seasons, since he’s begun starting, he’s had nine passes defended each year, which places him rather high on that list for a linebacker. A rangy guy, it’s not surprising he’s good in coverage. When he’s not using them to harass tight ends, Briggs is using his hands to keep blockers off him. His tackling suffered last year, though, after he racked up 102 solo stops in 2004. Chalk that up to Brian Urlacher missing seven games that year. Last season is a much better sample of what Briggs can do when both are healthy. We’d feel more comfortable with higher tackle totals, but his coverage skills are for real and should make up the difference.
Briggs did a little bit of everything and a whole lot of tackling in Lovie Smith’s speed-based defense last season, whether or not Brian Urlacher was in the lineup. By the NFL’s count, he was one of only five men to reach 100 solo stops last year. Briggs, who lacks ideal size, can be stuffed by offensive linemen, and is at his best in the open field and while snaking through traffic for the ball-carrier. He’s unproven at providing much beyond the tackles, so we’ll look to his ability to keep those totals up.