10:22 AM EDT, August 30, 2011
The Choice (and remember, death is not an option): Bears wonks’ ongoing public stupidity or Bears players’ ongoing public money-grubbing?
Congratulations to everyone at Halas Hall. They’ve shown great teamwork in making the operation up there look like a joke.
On Monday, Bears coach Lovie Smith said he told Chester Taylor he wasn’t in the team’s plans, so Taylor left. Then the Bears wondered why he didn’t show up for practice. “Evidently, he took it the wrong way,’’ Smith said, and I’m wondering, how many ways can you take not being part of the team’s plans? I mean, should a player know instinctively that he’s expected to stay around in case they need a fill-in to perform at weddings and bar-mitzvahs?
More wonderful communication from the wonks in Lake Forest. Just like the draft weekend embarrassment where the Bears had a deal with the Ravens only the Bears assigned two people to apparently not make the right phone call.
And don’t forget the group effort to absolutely humiliate Jay Cutler, only the starting quarterback in the NFC Championship Game. Cutler suffered a knee sprain early in the second quarter, played through it, refused doctor’s orders to sit out after halftime, took a painkilling shot, but couldn’t finish.
And the Bears very publicly allowed a guy who previously survived 52 sacks and a concussion to be characterized nationally and blindingly quick as someone with a Twinkie for a backbone and a Ho-Ho for a heart.
Instead of explaining that this knee sprain was actually a tear and that Cutler took a shot about a quarter before he finally couldn’t move and had no chance of coming back, the Bears said his return to the game was questionable, or whatever incorrect and unfair description they used. Cutler was out, period. Say it. You’re not fooling anyone, and besides, you’re looking like fools.
But no. The Bears failed to say it. They failed Cutler. They killed their own quarterback. It’s as if they have a rubber stamp that says “Schmuck’’ and an endless supply of ink.
Meanwhile, everybody in the Bears’ locker room wants more money. Hey, me, too. Where do I get in line?
Not all of the Bears have done it the way Lance Briggs did last weekend or the way Matt Forte said it as soon as he got to training camp. In fact, a lot of players let Briggs take the hit himself, according to Trib colleague David Haugh’s column, and the fact that there are a lot of Bears players unhappy with their contracts is the point.
It’s also pointless. I thought NFL players had wised up this time. They stood up to the owners. They demanded their share of $9 billion. They refused to be sent to their room without dessert. They negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement.
And then wah-wah-wah.
The players missed the most important point: non-guaranteed contracts. They didn’t get the owners to agree to that. It’s your own fault, guys. Your own fault and your union’s.
So, if contracts aren’t guaranteed, then players really get their money up front in signing bonuses, not in the length and breadth of the years on the contract. That situation alone demands that every good player is guaranteed to “out-perform’’ his contract and every bad player is equally guaranteed to get cut before the team has to fork over more wasted cash. Do the math: Teams recoup the up-front money paid to the Tommie Harris failures of the world by paying 2008 market value in 2011, ’12 and 13 to Lance Briggs.
Players could’ve fought to guaranteed deals. They didn’t. They have the same situation, which leads to the same whining, which makes them sound stupid.
Look, if you have out-performed your contract, then you’re not smart enough to deserve more money. I mean, you shouldn’t have signed a deal that locked you up for so long.
And besides, the idea of someone “out-performing’’ a contract is likely an agent’s whine that ignores the great likelihood the player “under-performed’’ his contract at the start.
But players always want their money and there’s always the feeling that getting their money could affect their play, and even if you can’t prove it conclusively, perception is a horrible and sometimes embarrassing reality.
And so, less than two weeks before the season opener, that’s where we are with the the Bears’ wonks and players. Fun, huh?
The wonks and players ought to worry about a loon of an offensive coordinator who gave a starting pass-catching job to a guy who drops as many passes as he catches.
The wonks and players had better learn the difference between an offensive line getting better and being good.
The wonks and players ought to worry about generating a pass rush because they are dealing with some of the least desirable cornerbacks that they refused to upgrade and are relying on a kid free safety, all of whom appear to be the golden ticket for Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers to make their contract bonuses in the first month.
Maybe the wonks and players are in fact worried about those things and more. Question is, given what you’ve heard and seen from them, how confident are you that they’ll get it right this season?
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