Black and Blue all over: Bears, Hester talk money

July, 24, 2008
7/24/08
8:36
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- If there was ever an NFL player who has earned a mid-contract upgrade, it's Devin Hester.

It's as if the Chicago Bears' return man operates on a level all his own.

"We're all in agreement on Devin's value," Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said Wednesday.

But while his value to the team is undeniable, Hester's value on the market is more difficult to gauge. To this point in his career, he is "only" the NFL's best return man. It's a role that, unfortunately for him, has not typically netted players lucrative contract extensions. There are not many precedents in recent NFL history for which to base negotiations on. Add in the fact that the Bears want Hester to be their No. 1 receiver, and Hester's market value becomes even more difficult to establish.

"It is very difficult given the situtation," Angelo said. "It's probably one that I won't ever experience again, quite like this."

Hester raised alarm bells Wednesday with a series of interviews in the Chicago media, and by the end of the night he had told the Chicago Sun-Times that he was willing to sit out the season if the sides can't work out a deal.

Around the NFC North this morning, beginning with our host team:

  • David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune agrees with Hester's position but thinks he won't get anywhere with the Bears unless he reports to camp first.
  • Hester figures to make more money with patience, writes Mike Mulligan of the Sun-Times. If he can prove to be a top-flight receiver, his value will skyrocket.
  • No one seems worried about veteran Bears center Olin Kreutz opening camp on the physically unable to perform list. Kreutz recently had a procedure to remove scar tissue from his Achilles tendon.
  • The Detroit Lions agreed to terms with first-round offensive lineman Gosder Cherilus late Wednesday night and will have him on the practice field Thursday morning.
  • Lions coach Rod Marinelli wasn't happy to learn about rookie linebacker Jordon Dizon's offseason arrest, but he said: "I stand side-by-side with him, because he's got football character and he loves this stuff and he made a mistake. Now we've just got to move on."
  • The Green Bay Packers have made some progress in contract discussions with running back Ryan Grant. His status will be one of many topics of discussion today at Lambeau Field, where the Packers will stage their annual shareholders meeting.
  • Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress relies heavily on nose tackle Pat Williams to gauge the locker room on important issues. So it's notable to point out how Williams responded Wednesday to questions about the Vikings potentially acquiring quarterback Brett Favre: "All my boys ask me when I'm at home, 'Are you guys going to get Brett Favre?'" Williams said. "I say, 'If we do, we do. If we don't, we don't.' If we don't, I'm going to ride with [Tarvaris] Jackson. I have a lot of confidence in him."

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