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 summer days of the offseason are prime ranking season, and the Bears official website is entering the mix as part of the team’s 100th season celebration.
Hall of Fame writers Dan Pompei and Don Pierson ranked the top 100 players in franchise history for their upcoming centennial scrapbook, and Monday the team released the first 25 names on the list.
The biggest standout was quarterback Jay Cutler, who ranked 85th.
Plenty of Hall of Famers should rank above the Bears’ all-time leading passer, but 84 is quite a few.
It’s hard to compare a modern quarterback to players from previous decades, like 82nd-ranked George Blanda, but Cutler even came in behind the likes of wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, neither of whom spent more than five years in Chicago.
Third-year safety Eddie Jackson also made an appearance at 96 on the list, and beloved former long snapper Patrick Mannelly started off the list at 100.
A lot has changed since the NFL released the 2019 schedule. Teams have added through the draft and free agency, and learned more about their rosters with rookie minicamps. Now with all that behind us, let’s take another look at which opposing rookies could make an impact in 2019. We’ll go over the first five opponents on Wednesday, the next four on Thursday and the last four on Friday.
Week 11 at Rams
If LA doesn’t re-sign Ndamukong Suh they’ll have a major vacancy on their defensive line: enter fourth-rounder Greg Gaines. The Rams traded back into the fourth round to snag Gaines, so clearly they think highly of the first team All-Pac-12 DL who had 56 tackles and 4.5 sacks last season at Washington.
Week 12 vs. Giants
The Giants made the biggest splash of the draft by selecting Daniel Jones No. 6 overall. Reactions to the picks in the media and on social media were very similar to when the Bears traded up to pick Mitchell Trubisky No. 2 overall in 2017, and Trubisky has already publicly given Jones advice for how to deal with the negative attention. Will Jones follow in Trubisky’s footsteps and have replaced Eli Manning under center by the time the Giants visit Chicago?
Week 13 at Lions
See Thursday’s preview of Bears’ opponents.
Week 14 vs. Cowboys
Fourth-round pick Tony Pollard is the lesser-heralded running back from Memphis rather than Darrell Henderson, but he can run and catch. Over his last two seasons, he put up 782 rushing yards, 994 receiving yards and 15 total touchdowns. He also adds much needed depth to the Dallas running back room, as the leading rusher behind Ezekiel Elliott last season was Dak Prescott with 75 attempts for 305 yards. After that, it was Rod Smith with 44 attempts for 127 yards.
Week 15 at Packers
See Wednesday’s preview of Bears’ opponents.
Week 16 vs. Chiefs
If Tyreek Hill doesn’t play this year due to domestic violence allegations, second-round pick Mecole Hardman could get a lot of snaps at WR in his stead. Hardman can blow by defenders, like Hill, and ran a 4.33 40-yard dash at the combine. That number was good for fifth-best among all participants this year. On the field for Georgia, he caught 35 balls for 543 yards and seven touchdowns. He added a punt return touchdown, as well.
Week 17 at Vikings
See Wednesday’s preview of Bears’ opponents.