Equipped with nearly $63 million in available salary cap space this offseason, the Bears should have no problem getting free agents to sign on the dotted line come March 9, right?
Not if NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has any say in the matter.
Smith made an appearance on the Spiegel and Parkins Show on WSCR-AM 670 on Friday afternoon, saying that he will tell free agents not to sign with the Bears if the new Illinois workers' comp bill is passed.
"I will tell you from the bottom of my heart that this union will tell every potential free agent player, if this bill passes, to not come to the Bears," Smith told WSCR.
[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]
The bill, which is being pushed by the McCaskey family, would put an end to health care for all injured workers beginning at the age of 35, including professional athletes in Illinois.
"This bill being sponsored by (senate Republican minority leader Christine Radogno) is being designed to target professional athletes and take away their right to health care that every worker in the state of Illinois is entitled to," Smith told WSCR. "The Bears’ owners are behind it as well, to beat the expense of the players who actually do all the work. They’re pushing the bill."
The Bears released the following statement via Chris Emma of 670 The Score:
"We join the four other major professional Chicago teams in monitoring and supporting changes to the system that protect athletes’ rights under the workers’ compensation system while acknowledging athletes are not competing professionally until age 67. Nothing in the wage differential language under consideration impacts the right for any athlete to receive just compensation for partial or permanent injury, medical benefits or to file a claim itself."
Fore more information on the bill, visit Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
The Bears' 2020 NFL draft needs haven't changed since our last mock draft, but with the Senior Bowl in the books, there are several prospects whose stocks are on the rise while others are beginning to experience the dreaded pre-draft fall.
It's unfair to suggest that three days of on-field practices will tank the stock of a player like Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts, but his questionable performance did create more questions than answers about his ability to be an NFL starter. As a result, teams that may have pegged him as a strong Day-2 option for their quarterback depth chart have no choice but to dive deeper into other potential options at the position.
The Bears fall into that category, and in this mock draft, they swing at another young passer who could be a long-term answer under center if Trubisky fails.
Check out our updated seven-round mock draft:
The Bears 2019 season was a lesson in disappointment in almost every way possible, from the quarterback to the offensive line and even the vaunted pass rush. But no position underwhelmed more than tight end, and Adam Shaheen was a big reason why.
The former second-round pick of the 2017 NFL draft failed to make any impact whatsoever. And that's not hyperbole. He appeared in just eight games, registering nine catches for 74 yards and zero touchdowns. Believe it or not, his stat line was an improvement over 2018 when he had just five catches for 48 yards in six games.
Shaheen's career narrative has been defined by injury, and it continued last season. He was placed on injured reserve in late-November with an apparent foot injury, marking the second-straight season that his year came to an early end.
It's been a remarkably disappointing career for Shaheen so far, who was viewed as a Rob Gronkowski-lite coming out of Ashland University. His jump from the small-school ranks to the NFL was expected to include a steep learning curve, but after three forgettable seasons, it's safe to say Shaheen's failed in almost every way possible.
The Bears are expected to bring Shaheen back for 2020 and he'll likely be in a training-camp battle for a roster spot. Chicago is going to add more talent to the position via either free agency or the NFL Draft and it wouldn't be a surprise if Shaheen begins the offseason schedule last on the depth chart.
It's been an unfortunate outcome for a draft pick that seemed so promising in 2017. Instead of growing into a fixture in the Bears' lineup, Shaheen will be left to fight for his NFL future this summer.
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