In a world where every action has a reaction, it makes sense that holdOUTS went away with the old CBA, making way in the new deal for hold-INs.
Hold-ins have been particularly popular this offseason and into training camp and preseason. And to this point, they have been producing results. In fact, another extension has come of a high-profile hold-in. It’s even a big-time defender cashing out with a big pay-day.
Unfortunately, for Bears fans, it isn’t Roquan Smith.
Derwin James, come on down! You’re the next recipient of a sizable contract extension:
Naturally, our mind turns to Roquan Smith’s situation after seeing someone from his draft class secure the bag in this manner. However, we need to be clear that this isn’t an apples-to-apples situation.
For starters, James has David Mulugheta in his corner as his agent. Piecing together a big extension is old hat for Mulugheta, one of the NFL’s premier super-agents. Smith doesn’t have that luxury as he represents himself. Secondly, James’ résumé has a few more decorative bullet points. James is a two-time Pro Bowler and was a first-team All-Pro as a rookie. Threading that needle of playing at a high level and gaining that notoriety at safety is impressive work, to be sure.
With this new contract shaking out, I imagine Smith will try to use it as leverage in negotiations. It doesn’t take much of a stretch to imagine Smith positioning himself in negotiations saying that he deserves north of $20M AAV after seeing James getting $19M AAV. But it’s not that easy. And even if it was, nothing about the Bears’ negotiations with Smith has been easy — leaving me to think there would still be significant hurdles to clear. Nevertheless, we have another datapoint for discussion as Smith’s contract dispute continues.