Thursday, July 11, 2024

Insider Eases Fears Over Caleb Williams Contract Impasse


Barely over a week remains before the Chicago Bears are supposed to report for training camp. Yet their two prized 1st round picks, Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze, still haven’t signed their rookie contracts. Fears are starting to rise that one or both might be headed for a holdout, which would immediately put them behind schedule on learning the new offense. Given how vital both will be to the team’s fortunes in 2024, that is not something anybody wants to hear. Adam Schefter didn’t help matters when he said Williams is looking for ways to upend the rookie contract system, trying to find more leverage.

That speaks to a player who isn’t afraid to stand his ground. Meanwhile, the Bears must be careful about how they approach the matter. They don’t want to set a precedent of caving to Williams that would force the rest of the league to follow. David Kaplan asked Sports Illustrated insider Albert Breer about the situation. While he admitted there is an outside chance Williams could hold out, it is far more likely his battle will end right before training camp, as has been the case with 99% of other rookies since the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement established the rookie wage scale.

Caleb Williams doesn’t have much wiggle room.

The primary things he can argue over are signing bonuses and offset language in the contract, which would protect him in case of injuries. Breer mentioned Joey Bosa in that clip. This is the reason the star pass rusher held out until right before the start of the regular season. He wanted those protections. The fact he suffered a hamstring injury almost immediately suggests it was the right call. What we don’t know is what Williams is seeking. There were rumors his camp explored receiving ownership equity in whichever franchise drafted him, which was swiftly shot down by the NFL.

Whatever the case, there are nine days left until a decision must be made. Caleb Williams can take right down to the wire if he wants. The only thing that will do is fray the nerves of Bears fans. It would still be a shock if he doesn’t report for camp. Being the competitor he is, Williams doesn’t seem like the type to purposely sacrifice crucial practice time to chase a few extra dollars. Keep an ear following this weekend. If news is going to drop, it will be around that time.

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Jul 11, 2024 11:39 am

@Barry… that’s my whole point. Why not make rookie contracts 100% non-negotiable? Then this type of situation goes away. And why do u harp so hard on the Rodgers thing with CW? It’s not likexthey have a personal relationship. CW appreciates AR on the field. That’s all he ever said. Does that mean Rome is getting the same cues from Rodgers? And you’re laying all the blame on CW , meanwhile we all know the Bears as an organization quite often seem to have these issues.

Jul 11, 2024 10:31 am

I will once again point out that Caleb takes a lot of cues from Aaron Rodgers, whose deal with the Jets basically constitutes domestic terrorism. It will take that franchise a decade to get out from under it.

I would not discount the possibility that Caleb is looking at the Rodgers deal and thinking, “well, why can’t I have roster control too?”

Jul 11, 2024 10:23 am

@Sam It’s less about what’s possible or feasible in the objective sense and more about what Caleb himself thinks is possible and feasible with this particular deal. Yes, there are well-founded, technical reasons why rookie deals tend to be very similar from player to player. But Caleb, a 22-year-old amateur athlete without a legal background, is his own agent, and therefore he is the only one authorized to negotiate with the team. Every player talks about how to maximize their worth, and those conversations don’t always take into account the practical realities of negotiating and finalizing a contract. He may… Read more »

Jul 11, 2024 8:01 am

Why make rookie contracts 95% exact, with 5% wiggle room… why not just make them 100% exact, with 100% consistent verbiage, and eliminate 100% of these scenarios? Why leave 5% of the contract verbiage as negotiable?? Just fk’n lock in exact verbiage across the board and be done with it. Contract negotiations of any kind shouldn’t happen until your second contract that you’ve earned IMO.

Jul 11, 2024 7:00 am

The entire video was referring to why agents do hold out etc. Caleb doesn’t have an agent so the video is irrelevant for him.

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