Nothing ushers in the upcoming NFL season like noting how extensions are rolling in for high-profile players around the league.
And once again, I’m left wondering where the Chicago Bears’ extension-worthy candidates fit:
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport has details on Leonard’s deal, which is a whopper of a biggie. Leonard’s extension is a five-year pact worth up to $99.25 million. It includes $52.5 million in guarantees and comes with an AAV of $20 million over the first three years. In other words, Leonard’s new paper tops that of the deal Fred Warner recently signed with the 49ers in terms of total value, average per year, total guarantees, and full guarantees. Or, to put it in a way for Bears fans to get a grasp, it’s enough to make Roquan Smith’s representatives knock on Ryan Pace’s door asking where’s the bag?
It’s bold letting Warner and Leonard set a high bar on the market. Especially since it means Smith will likely use both contracts to set his own price. Going north of deals signed by Warner and Leonard would be one way to dispel narratives about how the McCaskeys don’t spend. I mean, pointing at the $211,718,250 in total cap liabilities (per OTC) would be easier. But where is the fun in that? Smith should get a dandy extension from the Bears. And for what it’s worth, Smith is on record saying he wants a second contract to stay in Chicago. But if he gets it, the expectation now is that it will exceed what Warner and Leonard were given in their respective deals.
To be clear, it’s not that Smith isn’t deserving of a rich pay day. He is. And if Smith puts together All-Pro caliber year, it will only add to the price tag. However, not being more aggressive about getting it done means it will cost the Bears more than it would have a few months ago.