Chicago Sun-Times

Report: Bears' rookie pool 5th highest in league

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Tied with the Kansas City Chiefs at 12 for having the most picks in the NFL draft, it’s no surprise the Bears have the fifth-highest rookie pool at $5,791,190, according to figures obtained by The Chiefs have the highest figure at $8,221,790, followed by Atlanta, Miami, St. Louis and then the Bears. The difference is the Bears are the only one of the bunch not to own a pick in the top five, or top 13 for that matter. Their top pick, offensive tackle Chris Williams, went No. 14.

Kansas City tops the board as the Chiefs had two first-round picks—DT Glenn Dorsey (6th) and OL Branden Albert (15th). They have an extra third-round pick to sign as well. The Falcons had four picks in the top 68 and also had two players in the first round—QB Matt Ryan (3rd) and OT Sam Baker (21st). Miami owned the No. 1 pick and already signed OT Jake Long to a $57.75 million deal. The Rams had the No. 2 pick and used it on DE Chris Long.

The rookie pool is a salary cap within the salary cap that was designed to help teams slot pay for draft picks. That hasn’t stopped the rookie contracts from spinning out of control, though.

The Bears have been the first team to have all of their draft picks under contract the last two summers, but with 12 players to sign it’s going to be a tall task for contract negotiator Cliff Stein to complete a hat trick. Running back Garrett Wolfe was the first draft pick to sign a contract last year, agreeing to terms on May 15. Tight end Greg Olsen, the Bears’ first-round pick last year, was the first pick from the first two rounds of that draft to sign, putting his name on a contract July 3.

Obviously, the Bears do not expect to have any holdouts when camp opens July 23 in Bourbonnais, but Stein might be hard-pressed to carve out a vacation for himself before players head to Olivet Nazarene University.

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I think the NFL needs to come up with some type of rookie salary cap, and I can name a few reasons why. #1. A rookie salary cap would cut back on holdouts and more top picks would get into camp on time. #2. To many teams are wasteing money on unproven players that never develope, so basically NFL teams are rewarding players for what they did in college. #3. A rookie salary cap would force certain rookies to earn there money and prove there worth before they get a payday, which is the way it should be anyways. #4. NFL teams end up haveing veterans that are better and out produceing there rookie counterparts but yet not makeing as much, example: Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson. Also a lot of rookies get that monster rookie payday and enter the pros end up haveing a hard time and say the heck with it I already got paid and just slip out of the league with a lot of the teams money that they did not even earn. So in a nut shell a rookie salary cap would only allow the players that have earned the money to get paid, so this way the best get there due. With this being said it is very important that this years draft class by the Bears get signed by july 23. Especially since the two top picks are being counted on to come in and contribute early, here's for hopeing GO BEARS!!

I think ALL sports should have a salary cap. I think rookie contracts should be based on performance and not what the player did in college. Teams lose to much money on a player who shows promise and then can't cut it on the pro level. I don't think rookies should have guaranteed contracts till they have proven themselves. Teams should treat a rookie as such and make them realize that they are being given a privilege to play and not as if they are a savior.

100% agree Kevin.

3yr deals for the 1st and second rounders.
4 year deals for the rounds 3-7.

The reason those numbers you would think that a first and second rounders will make an impact in the first 2 years. By the 3rd year they can prove that it wasnt a fluke. Then they can get paid.

Rounds 3-7 you never know what kind of player your gonna get. Some players even that are picked in the first round need an extra year our 2.

This also will give the team a chance to let go of a player without being commited for a long period of time.

Give 'em all $100M

Brando: "Rounds 3-7 you never know what kind of player (you're) gonna get."

That pretty much holds true for the entire draft...

Ahhhhh duh. Anonymous.

I tend to think when any team drafts a guy in the first 2 rounds, that player should be a ligit starter in the NFL.
Teams and fans expect a player drafted in the first 2 rounds to produce at a high level.


The rookies are the most wasteful things that any professional team pay for. The money should go to the veteran. Every other job in the world the veteran gets the pay. If the rookie can beat the veteran then he can earn the money, but only if he proves him/herself. Lets get real, why pay for a pipe dream lets pay for what you show me. Let the professional athelete prove him/sherself. I don't mind giving Thomas Jones or C Benson the money, but show me like Thomas did that he can do do the job. C Benson has not earned the $15 million plus bonus that C Benson got. The professional atheletes need to protect their future and say let us pay for earnings not potential. I believe in unions, but to give $15 million to an unproven rookie and $900 thousand to a proven veteran is totally wrong.

I think Cliff Stein does not get enough credit for how well he does his job. Outside of Benson's holdout a few years ago, where the kid just got some terrible advice from his agents, he has pretty well nailed every draft choice long before the start of training camp. He has also done a masterful job of locking up veterans for long-term extensions at a "hometown discount" level. We talk about the front office, and a lot of the time we consider that to be Lovie and Angelo, and sometimes Greg Gabriel and Bobby DePaul, but the guy who makes it all work is Stein. He puts fair contracts together very quickly given the parameters he has to work with, and gets our guys into camp and ready to go. I think you can credit those early negotiations for a lot of the contributions our rookie classes make early on. They are in the fold and working with their teammates before camp starts, and they attend minicamps and OTAs, which gets them a leg up in our systems, allowing them to play rather than think.

It is a very overlooked role in the business side of football, but his results are unquestionable.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on May 7, 2008 8:43 PM.

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