I’m going to start calling Chicago Bears chief contract negotiator Cliff Stein Dudley Do-Right because he always gets his man. Yesterday Stein accomplished his goal of having all rookies signed by May 28th. It was close, but the Bears’ first pick, third rounder Major Wright inked a 4-year deal to get everyone signed by Stein’s self-imposed deadline.
Even though the Bears didn’t have a first or second round pick, where the big money and tough negotiations prevail, it’s nice to know that the Bears start the summer and next week’s OTA’s with everyone signed and ready to go. This marks the fifth straight year that the Bears are the first team to have all of their picks signed.
Getting his deal done was somewhat more complicated than the previous four contracts because the Bears’ rookie pool — the salary cap for signing draft picks — was underfunded. That forced the team and Wright’s agents to use some creativity, but the deal got done before the holiday weekend. The team will begin OTA’s on Wednesday at Halas Hall, but all of the contractual business is now done.
As was reported earlier this week, the Bears had to get creative to get Wright’s contract written up. Apparently, with a shallow pool of rookie money, the Bears had to include a not-likely-to-be-achieved incentive to get the value of the contract in line with Wright’s third round draft status.
…the Bears’ rookie pool was underfunded, one of the problems that comes with not having a first- and second-round draft pick. That means the Bears will have to include a not-likely-to-be-earned incentive in the contract for Wright because after signing the other four draft picks, there simply isn’t enough space remaining in the rookie pool to give Wright a signing bonus commensurate with his draft status.
For Wright and all other Bears players, my request is simple – go out and earn your money. No matter how much or how little (and that’s a relative term), go out and work hard, compete and earn your paycheck. Playing in the NFL is a privilege and playing for the founding franchise is an honor. Do this organization and yourselves proud.
OTA’s start up again on Wednesday as we hit the home stretch of the offseason with Bourbonnais on the not so distant horizon.