A columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer floated a trade scenario that would send Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Bears for disgruntled linebacker Lance Briggs. The Briggs' rumor mill has been quiet since the draft, but the two-time Pro Bowler was a no-show at minicamp last weekend, so maybe talk will pick up.
I'll explore five possible (although logistically difficult) trade scenarios for Briggs, and I'd love to hear your theories.
1. Briggs for McNabb: The Inquirer story hypothesized the Bears would only do this deal if McNabb was guaranteed to be healthy by Week 1. I think the Eagles would be hesitant to do this, because they traditionally don't like to open up the vaults for linebackers. I think they'd rather have a contract headache at quarterback, even if there is a health risk. Chicago, on the other hand, would probably love to have McNabb even if he wasn't 100 percent, no matter how many positive reports you read about Rex Grossman at minicamp.
2. Briggs for Larry Johnson: Johnson is a free agent after 2007 and wants to be paid like LaDainian Tomlinson. The Chiefs denied they were shopping the star running back, but they also haven't said they're going to meet his salary demands. It's time to rebuild in K.C. and young Pro Bowl-caliber linebacker would be a nice fit. Johnson probably isn't a great long-term fit for the Bears unless they want to give up on Cedric Benson. But for one year a Johnson-Benson combo is intriguing despite being impractical.
3. Briggs for Chris Simms: The Bucs reportedly had some interest in Briggs and they have some spare parts to deal. Obviously, they'd love to ship Jake Plummer to Chicago, although Plummer maintains he's really retired. I think Tampa Bay wouldn't mind giving up Simms, who might interest Chicago if the Bucs could sweeten the deal somehow. Maybe disgruntled cornerback Brian Kelly or soon-to-retire outside linebacker Derrick Brooks could be in the deal. It's probably too late for Tampa Bay to deal Brooks without angering fans, and he's too expensive anyway, but he'd certainly be a nice one-year replacement for Briggs.
4. Briggs for Clinton Portis: The Redskins and Bears couldn't complete a deal around draft time, but maybe talks would resume if Chicago really believes Briggs will sit out the season. We know Washington will satisfy Briggs' contract demands. Portis is the one high-profile Redskin who has been mentioned in trades this offseason. The Bears' running game would be scary with a Portis-Cedric Benson 1-2 punch, and Washington could survive without the running back. And Chicago was also interested in Skins LB Rocky McIntosh in April.
5. Briggs for Michael Vick: This one is as hypothetical as they come -- meaning it's not happening in this lifetime -- but it would cure a lot of headaches. Atlanta wouldn't have to deal with a possible Vick suspension and more bad publicity. And Chicago could wait out any league discipline on Vick. Now that Matt Schaub is in Houston, that would leave Joey Harrington as the Falcons QB, so I'll admit, this plan has some flaws. If you think Vick is a controversial choice to include in this list, be happy I didn't throw out Brett Favre's name.