Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Adam Schefter Provides Troubling Update On Caleb Williams’ Contract


Five 1st round picks remain unsigned by their respective teams. Training camp is less than two weeks away. Two of those five picks belong to the Chicago Bears. Both Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze have yet to sign their contracts. While there is no reason to panic yet, fans are starting to get nervous. They know how counterproductive camp holdouts can get. It happened with Cedric Benson in 2005 and again with Roquan Smith in 2018. Both didn’t get off to great starts as rookies. Adam Schefter of ESPN provided an update on the situation.

Given the relatively rigid structure of the rookie wage scale, these contracts are largely formalities for NFL teams. It shouldn’t take long to get players signed. While Schefter isn’t worried about Odunze, believing he will get done soon, Williams is another matter. It appears the young quarterback is furthering what his father started a few months ago, trying to find ways to circumvent the Collective Bargaining Agreement. He wants to upend the rookie contract structure in some way.

Adam Schefter and others know Williams has little wiggle room.

Unless he’s willing to hold out into training camp and even the regular season, he doesn’t have much leverage. The NFL isn’t going to make an exception for him or anybody else. The CBA is binding for all rookies, regardless of where they were drafted or how big their media profile is. Williams is free to pursue certain language in the contract, such as offset guarantees to protect him from injuries. That is something Smith battled over six years ago. Would the quarterback put his rookie season in jeopardy by trying to make a statement?

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That seems unlikely. Ryan Poles isn’t the sort of GM who will be bullied into compliance. He’s willing to work with Caleb Williams to find a deal that both sides are happy with. Still, his job is to do what is best for the Bears. Don’t forget it felt like Jaylon Johnson was ready to force his way out of town at one point. Poles navigated that to eventually secure an extension. That is why Adam Schefter seems confident things will work out. Unless there is a drastic impasse between the two sides, Williams and Odunze should still end up under contract by the time players report on July 19th.


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Jul 10, 2024 3:49 am

@barry_mccockiner – agreed. But Poles decided to draft Williams knowing this could be an issue. So we need to deal with where we are and not let these contract issues blindside us. Work out a deal, and get Williams and Odunze signed and 110% focused on football. We have way too much invested in these guys to have distractions. Poles basically gave away Fields for nothing because he didn’t want distractions. So allowing these contract distractions by not getting these guys signed this close to camp should not be an option. If George needs to shell out a few more… Read more »

Jul 9, 2024 3:28 pm

Yeah, no argument from me on any of that. Basically Poles needs to be prepared to just give Caleb whatever QB1 wants. As for Rome, he’s gonna want whatever concessions they give Caleb. So will every other future first-round pick of Chicago.

That’s one reason I would’ve auctioned pick 1.01 for a haul, stacked depth up and down the roster, and rolled with Fields in 2024. But that’s history and I’m trying to stop harping on it so much. Poles needs to do whatever he has to do to get these deals done, now, today.

Jul 9, 2024 1:23 pm

Another dumb story

Jul 9, 2024 1:20 pm

@barry_mccockiner – You’re right. But the Bears have no excuse not to have been prepared for this. They knew very well that issues like this were possible before they drafted Williams. They should have been prepared and had a plan to have had him signed well before this. Don’t tell me this all came as a surprise, because it didn’t. The media stated before the draft that Williams would require special handling. The Bears drafted him, that means they were ready to make things work with him. And whatever the issues are with Williams, what about Odunze? Neither one of… Read more »

Jul 9, 2024 12:45 pm

@jim Jones There is (probably) a lot that a rookie or his agent could do with a rookie deal. Yes, the salary and the duration are fixed. But they’re just contracts in the same sense as office leases are just contracts. It’s my understanding that Caleb could, for example, negotiate a high-paying, no-show job for his dad, or something like that. Maybe options in a new stadium. (Equity in the franchise isn’t permitted by the league, but I don’t know if that extends to properties, which are almost always separate LLCs, or to non-equity financial instruments.) Maybe some degree of… Read more »

Last edited 14 hours ago by barry_mccockiner

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