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.
Positive press about the Chicago Bears' offseason is having a strong impact on the jersey sales for the team's highest-profile player, Mitch Trubisky.
According to Dick's Sporting Goods, Trubisky's No. 10 is the fifth-most popular jersey among offensive players over the last 30 days. He's No. 6 among all players, regardless of position.
The Bears' offseason has been full of superlatives since their aggressive approach to free agency. The signings of Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel put the spotlight on Trubisky and the potentially surging passing game. The second-round selection of Anthony Miller and word of Kevin White's offseason emergence has turned positive momentum into higher-than-anticipated expectations for Trubisky this season.
For Chicago to have any chance at meeting those expectations, Trubisky, who's entering his first full season as a starter with a new head coach and offensive system, has to thrive. Fans must be confident that he will, considering the investment they're making in his jersey.
Trubisky ended his rookie season with four wins in 12 starts, throwing for 2,193 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes. He should have a much more productive season in 2018 with his new arsenal of skill players and an innovative coaching staff, led by coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.
The Chicago Bears will kick off the fourth season of "Meet the Rookies" on June 25, a series that profiles four of the team's 2018 draft picks for a behind-the-scenes look at their journey to the NFL.
The four-episode series will air on ChicagoBears.com at 7:00 p.m from June 25 - 28 and will feature one rookie per night.
Monday's episode will cover the Bears' first-round pick, Roquan Smith. Selected with the eighth-overall pick, Smith is expected to become an instant-impact player on defense. He's expected to make an impact off the field, too, as a high-character leader. Smith's linebacker-mate Joel Iyiegbuniwe is the focus of Tuesday's episode, with Anthony Miller (Wednesday) and James Daniels (Thursday) rounding out Season 4.
For a deeper dive into what's in store in "Meet the Rookies," check out this description.