Chicago Bears: contract

Road To Bourbonnais: Make/break for Jay

July, 12, 2013
Marc TrestmanAP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastJay Cutler's future in Chicago likely will depend on the success of his relationship with Marc Trestman.
Editor's note: Michael C. Wright and Jeff Dickerson will preview the top storylines heading to the Bears training camp.

How will Jay Cutler, Marc Trestman and Matt Cavanaugh get along throughout the season? Cutler has had strained relationships in the past with some coaches. Will that be the case again in 2013?


What are you expecting from Jay Cutler this season?


Discuss (Total votes: 5,659)

For the first time in four years, Cutler lacks the upper hand over the coaching staff.

In the past, Cutler could simply tune out former offensive coordinators Ron Turner, Mike Martz and Mike Tice because the quarterback had the security of a lucrative, long-term deal. Then there was the issue of compensation -- the Bears surrendered a pair of first-round picks and a third-rounder to acquire Cutler from Denver -- making it even more difficult for the organization to go in a different direction.

But that golden parachute is gone.

Trestman is a lock to be here in 2014. Cutler is not.

Ex-general manager Jerry Angelo is the one who engineered the Cutler trade. Phil Emery did not.

Cutler's talent is undeniable. To blame the quarterback for all the problems on offense in recent years would be unfair. Cutler has had some moments of brilliance.

Just not enough.

For this relationship to really work, Cutler needs to place a larger emphasis on working hard, toeing the company line behind the scenes, embracing the new style of offense and accepting the coaching of Trestman and Cavanaugh.

So far, the relationship between the three men appears to be fine.

But of course, we've seen this all before.

The true test will come during the season when the offense begins to face adversity and Cutler absorbs a couple of hits in the pocket. If the quarterback can maintain his composure and stop showing up his teammates on game day and on the practice field, the Bears could be a much better offense in 2013.

And if the Bears thrive on offense, Cutler will no doubt earn a monster new contract that will average somewhere in the range of $17-$19 million per year.

It's a win-win for everybody.

All three men have the incentive to make this work, but none more so than Cutler.

Cutler prepared to play out contract in 2013

March, 13, 2013
Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said Wednesday it appears he'll be entering the 2013 season on the last year of his contract instead of landing an extension.

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Bears terminate contract of Knox

February, 12, 2013
The Chicago Bears terminated the contract of receiver and former Pro Bowl returner Johnny Knox on Tuesday, the team announced.

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Cutler prefers offseason extension talk

November, 5, 2012
Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said Monday the team hasn't yet approached him about a contract extension, adding he'd prefer to discuss business after the season instead now with the team in the midst of a 7-1 run.

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Source: Cutler has yet to discuss new deal

September, 4, 2012
While whispers exist about the Chicago Bears inching closer to a new contract for quarterback Jay Cutler, the reality is it's not yet time for that, and Tuesday a source close to Cutler indicated as much.

With Cutler's current contract running through the 2013 season, it's likely the team won't address prospects for a new deal in earnest -- provided he performs -- until sometime in the offseason, which would prevent him from going into his final season as a lame duck.

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McCaskey: Emery can decide on Lovie in '13

July, 27, 2012
Chicago Bears chairman George McCaskey said Friday that when Phil Emery was promoted to general manager, he was told Lovie Smith would be the head coach for 2012, but Emery would have the freedom to make a change after that.

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Emery non-committal on Urlacher contract

July, 24, 2012
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery was non-committal Tuesday on the topic of Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher's contract, which is set to expire the following the 2012 season.

The middle linebacker has said on several occasions in the offseason there have been no talks regarding a possible extension, although he wants to remain with the team that drafted him with the No. 9 pick in 2000. Urlacher is set to earn a base salary of $7.5 million in 2012 with a salary cap hit of $9.7 million.

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Bears, Forte agree on extension

July, 16, 2012

The Chicago Bears and running back Matt Forte have agreed to terms on a long-term contract, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The Bears had placed their franchise tag on Forte in March and the sides had until 4 p.m. ET Monday to strike a deal. Without a long-term deal, the Pro Bowl running back would have had to play the 2012 season under the $7.749 million tender or sit out the season.

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TBDScott Boehm/Getty ImagesMatt Forte's situation will be decided by 3 CT on Monday.
ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen believes Matt Forte might get his deal done before today's deadline.

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Healthy Urlacher eyes 2-3 more years

June, 27, 2012
CHICAGO -- Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher said Wednesday that his injured left knee feels good and he plans to be on the practice field when training camp opens on July 26, but he also acknowledged there may only be "2-3 years" left on what many consider a Hall of Fame career.

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Forte 'optimistic' but may skip camp

June, 22, 2012
CHICAGO -- Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte said Friday he might hold out of training camp, but is optimistic about his ongoing talks with the team.

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Front offices playing an unfair game

June, 7, 2012
Sometimes it's just not smart to listen to the world when you heart is telling you to do something different.

The world seems to be telling Matt Forte to take what the Bears are currently offering him and run. And catch -- and block -- and continue to be the second-most important offensive player on the roster.

Stop holding out and accept the franchise tag, which will pay him $7.7 million this season (a significant upgrade from what he made last season, when he was paid $600,000), have the same season he had last season before he was injured then come back to the table and get the contract from the Bears that he was looking for when this whole thing began.

But when Forte's contemporaries around the league are continuously being compensated with more secure, long-term packages, why should he be the one in the group to settle for less?

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- After producing a breakout season in 2011, Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton enters the final year of his original rookie contract, but refuses to become vocal in his desire for a new deal.

[+] EnlargeHenry Melton
AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastHenry Melton had seven sacks in 15 starts during a breakout 2011 season.
Melton said the team hasn’t reached out to him or his representatives about a new contract, but he’s “not going to let it really get in my way of being who I want to be this year.”

“I still have a lot to prove for this defense, and I do want to show that I am the guy of the future for this defense. We’re really just sitting back. I’m not going to let it be a distraction or be a distraction to the team or anything. We’re just letting it go.”

Scheduled to earn $565,000 this season in the final year of his contract signed in 2009, Melton finally in 2011 lived up to the high expectations placed on him by the coaching staff. Going into the 2011 season, Bears coach Lovie Smith consistently pointed to Melton as a player poised for a breakout year.

Melton responded with seven sacks in 15 starts, which tied for third in the NFL in sacks among defensive tackles.

This offseason, the club’s decision to not bring back veteran defensive tackles Anthony Adams and free agent Amobi Okoye provided further evidence of its confidence in Melton paired next to Matt Toeaina, with second-year man Stephen Paea adding to the rotation.

Melton likes what he’s seen so far from the defensive line during offseason workouts.

“Of course you can always get better,” Melton said. “Unless you finish first in total defense, you always can get better. Right now, we’re really just having to know where everyone needs to be and we’re going into some serious detail, a lot more technique. It’s looking good. We’ve got a lot of veterans, a lot of studs. We’ve got a big rotation. Pretty much whoever steps in can get the job done.”

Melton would prefer to continue to work his trade in Chicago, which in 2009 selected him with a fourth-round pick. Still, he won’t let the prospect of potentially departing derail what he’s expecting to be an even better campaign in 2012 than his breakout season of 2011.

“I love the city, the fans are great. I’ve got a lot of close friends on the team, and I love being out here,” Melton said. “I’d love to be here. I’d love to be the motor for the defense.”

Lovie hopeful on Briggs' contract front

February, 23, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS -- One key issue the Chicago Bears need to resolve is the future of perennial Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs, who stated before the start of last season he either wanted a new deal or to be traded. Briggs has yet to publicly back down from that demand after he led the Bears with 147 tackles in 2011 and was named to his seventh consecutive Pro Bowl.

The 31-year-old linebacker is currently under contract with the Bears through 2013 after he signed a six-year deal in March, 2008. He is due to make a base salary of $3.75 million in 2012 and could pocket an additional $1.33 million in likely to be earned incentives. Briggs' base salary jumps to $6.25 million in the final year of the deal.

At the core of the problem is the fact Briggs pocketed the bulk of his guaranteed money in the first three years of the contract. From 2008-2010, Briggs took home $11.8 million in the form of roster bonuses and made a combined salary figure of $6.445 in 2010. However, the final three years of Briggs' contact do not include any roster bonuses, and the linebacker saw his pay drop to $3.650 million last season, despite maintaining the same high level of performance on the field.

Smith said he briefly spoke with Briggs last week while the two attended funeral services held for the wife of ex-Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris.

"I did have a chance to talk to Lance a little bit," Smith said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. "Lance is family to us. Again, you're talking about a guy who's been here every day I've been here, and plays better football every year. He knows how much we like him and want him to be a Bear forever. So yes I've talked to him. Hopefully things are getting better on that front."

Lovie: Forte will get new deal ultimately

February, 23, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS -- While the Chicago Bears could still decide to slap the franchise tag on free agent running back Matt Forte before the March 5 deadline, head coach Lovie Smith believes the two sides will ultimately agree to a long-term contract extension.

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