Danieal Manning definitely has the Bears' attention after his agent Russel Hicks informed the Tribune’s Vaughn McClure that Manning may be absent from offseason workouts beginning March 29.
Really, this shouldn't have come as a shock to the Bears, since Manning was given a less-than-glamorous $1.176 million restricted free agent tender. There have been some bumps in the road during Manning's Bears career, but let's not forget, he's athletic enough to play free safety, strong safety, cornerback, nickel back and return kicks. Manning has started 40 games over four seasons, and if you believe the Bears, may open up the 2010 campaign at strong safety. From a football standpoint, it seems odd to place such a low tender on a player you envision having a big role in the upcoming season, doesn't it? On the other hand, from a business standpoint, it makes perfect sense.
But those two conflicting messages still lead me back to one basic question -- do the Bears want to keep Manning?
I truly believe coach Lovie Smith wants Manning to be in a Bears uniform. However, I can't say the same for Jerry Angelo, who feels Manning lacks certain instincts on the field. So who wins out in the end?
This situation could play out in several ways. The Bears could decide they value Manning enough to tack on some extra money to his tender amount of $1.176. Or they could do nothing. Or maybe a team decides to sign a Manning to an offer sheet and give up a third round pick -- so far there's been no activity on that front.
One thing I've learned over the years; if a player wants to report, he'll report. So the decision to sign the injury waiver and attend the workouts at the end of the month is entirely up to Manning. Agents work for the players, not the other way around, and I highly doubt Hicks would stand in the way if Manning wants to show up.
I highly doubt Manning will say much publicly on the matter -- that's really not his style -- but there comes a time when a player gets tired of being disrespected. We may have reached that point.