As much as Bears top draft pick Mitch Trubisky says he'll be on the field as part of the first training camp practice three weeks from Thursday, he and his agents know this is a business.
Bruce and Ryan Tollner will not let their client take the field in Bourbonnais without a deal in place, even if they let it slide during organized team activities and minicamp last month. It's great the kid says he'll be there, deal or not, but they won't let it happen without being signed, sealed and delivered.
It's important to note that the Tollners have represented the last two No. 2 overall picks, who've also happened to be quarterbacks. Back in 2015, Marcus Mariota was their man and things got a little dicey before he eventually signed a four-year, $24 million contract that included nearly $16 million guaranteed. The Titans historically didn't include offset language in their deals for first-rounders, but agreed to a partial offset in this case as the day of reckoning neared. Offset language allows teams to only pay the portion of the original contract if, in the worst-case scenario, the player is such a bust that they cut him but is signed elsewhere. Any new deal would offset or negate the fourth-year salary of his original rookie contract from what he's paid by his new team. He'd be basically earning what the new team pays, not the money from his original contract plus the salary from his new team.
Last year, the Tollners and Carson Wentz accepted offset language, as did Jared Goff with the Rams. In the end, Wentz signed a four-year deal worth approximately $27 million, about $17-1/2 million guaranteed.
Based on that math, the Bears are probably looking at a four-year investment worth $28-30 million, and upwards of $18 million or more guaranteed. The offset language, the i's dotted and the t's crossed, factor into whether the kid's promises to be on the field July 27 become a reality.
The Bears' offense was bad last year. I know that. You know that. The Bears (hopefully?) know that.
But *extremely 30 For 30 voice* what if I told you just how bad they really were? Would you be interested in that? You wouldn't be? Sorry, got a quota to hit.
In a fascinating new study written by Rotoworld's Hayden Weeks, the lack of modern wrinkles in Chicago's offense are made painstakingly clear. Weeks took an analytically-slanted look at every NFL offense, and friends, it's a rough read:
4th Down Aggressiveness: 23rd
Pass Rate on Early Downs: 9th
Pass Rate While Trailing: 13th
Play-Action Rate: 27th
Downfield Pass Rate: 16th
Middle of the Field Pass Rate: 5th
Pre-Snap Motion Percentage: 30th
Outside Run Rate: 20th
Shotgun Run Rate: 5th
Offensive Pace: 22nd
Overall, Weeks ranks the Bears as the 22nd best offense in football based on the above metrics. If there's any hope whatsoever, it comes from his short write up of Nagy's offense – but still, temper your expectations:
If I incorporated the front office, the Bears would be much lower, but I think Nagy holds his own in terms of in-game analytics usage. He’s just been dealt a horrible hand at quarterback and with the offensive line. Nagy opted for a decent pass rate on early downs (9th) and while trailing (13th), plus uses shotgun a lot and targets the middle of the field (5th). There are a few things holding him back from jumping into Tier 3, however. The Bears weren’t aggressive enough on fourth downs (23rd) and didn't use play action (27th) or pre-snap motion (30th) nearly enough. Maybe the quarterback change sparks change.
Bears: Use play action! Just try it! I promise you'll like it.
Patrick Mahomes forever altered the sports contract landscape with his landmark 10-year, $450 million extension that became official this week. It made all the sense in the world to lock up the 2018 MVP whose team could very easily be coming off back-to-back Super Bowl titles if not for a nail-biting loss to the eventual-champion Patriots in the 2019 AFC Championship game. But Brad Spielberger, who does extensive salary cap research and writing for OverTheCap.com, believes Mahomes could have massively cashed in again if he took a different approach to these negotiations
Coming in, we knew this was going to be a groundbreaking deal in some respects... I really didn’t think he was going to give up that many years of control – it’s basically a lifetime contract. Again, I know it’s maybe up to half a billion dollars, so it sounds crazy to maybe question his thinking there, but in 5, 6, 7 years down the road, he probably could have gotten another deal that would have made this one look small in comparison.
Every team in the league would love this deal… every front office in the NFL would say, the fact that they have this much time on this deal is the best part about it. Again, it’s a monstrous deal and there are outs at certain points so it’s not so strict as to say he can’t get out of it or he can’t work with it. If I’m his agent, I would push for 5 years, $200M fully guaranteed; let’s go mega-Kirk Cousins on steroids, let’s change the game, and then let’s see if we can sign a deal for $50M a year when that one runs out.
The scenario painted there is an interesting one, and might have allowed Mahomes to reset the quarterback market twice in a decade… but we’ll never know. For more from Spielberger, including how the Mahomes deal impacts the Dak Prescott and Deshaun Watson negotiations and what the Bears’ offseason moves tell him about the mindset of Ryan Pace’s front office, listen to the most recent edition of the Under Center podcast here or below.