It’s now passed the halfway point of July, and Bears’ 1st round draft pick Mitchell Trubisky is still without a contract. This is odd, especially given that Trubisky is a guy that the Bears have bet so much on succeeding. Many Bears fans are extremely worried about his contract situation, but should they be?
The simple answer is not yet. However, if we get to the last couple days before training camp, it should be time for fans to sweat about this situation.
Trubisky is one of only seven first round draft picks yet to sign with their respective club. Worth noting, however, four of those seven were top-6 draft picks. Given the NFL’s CBA rules, this is come to be expected. The rookie wage scale really only allows for a couple things to be negotiated, specifically deferred money and offset language.
The offset language problem allows for teams to save money should they release their draft pick after the 4th year of his contract. Obviously, players players like to negotiate this in order to stop incentivising teams from releasing them. You would think this wouldn’t be a huge deal in the top-5, but with the higher salaries and recent history of busts, having offset language in a contract could benefit the team greatly. Chances are, especially for a quarterback deemed a ‘project’, this shouldn’t matter, but players like the extra security of not having it in their rookie deals.
The other negotiation could be deferred money. Deferred money is what allows teams to pay a player a smaller amount over many years instead of a full amount over one year should they release him. This creates situations more synonymous with the MLB, and specifically Bobby Bonilla. While a rookie contract will not create any situations like Bonilla’s, who will be getting paid over $1 million every year until 2035.
Both sides want to make sure they get these little things in their favor, and that is what leads to these contract disputes. It doesn’t mean that Trubisky isn’t dedicated to the team nor does it mean he doesn’t want to be a Bear. He is just looking out for his financial security.
However, we are getting close to the time that we should be worried about it. Trubisky cannot practice with the team at training camp if they do not have a signed contract.
It is not beneficial to neither the Bears nor Trubisky should he miss practice. With as raw as he is, he will have to get the most out of every practice in order to succeed at the pro level. This is part of the rationale behind him sitting behind Mike Glennon, in order not to stunt his development by risking him injury.
Should this contract holdout last until July 24th, 2 days before training camp begins, then you should be worried. If there is no contract on July 26th, then it is ok to be terrified. However, the chances of that happening are slim.
So don’t freak out just yet, But if those aforementioned dates hit without a deal, I will be freaking out more than anyone.