On Wednesday, Bears General Manager Phil Emery said that he didn’t anticipate reaching agreement on a contract extension with any of the players entering the 2013 season with an expiring deal.
Emery also said that he hadn’t picked up on any bad vibes from those players, but Emery may not have spoken to kicker Robbie Gould, one of the impending free agents, before making that assessment. Gould was on ESPN 1000 in Chicago on Wednesday night to talk about Emery’s decree and said he approached the team about an extension and was told there was no money to make it happen. The Bears are tight against the cap, but, as Gould said, teams usually find a way to fit players under the cap when they want to find a way to fit players under the cap.
Gould believes that pushing off contract talks would lead to divided motivations as players “have to take care of No. 1.” The kicker also said that he thought the Bears’ approach would wind up costing them more money in the long run — “If they don’t want to re-sign me now it’s going to cost them double at the end of the year — and that it would lead to major changes before the 2014 season.
“If they were smart they would try to get their core group of players and re-sign them before the end of the year and try to make it work, but a lot of us are sitting in a great position,” Gould said. “You might see a lot of guys exit the Bears, [so] this year has to be pretty special, because if it doesn’t go as well as planned I can see them completely rebuilding. Or they might find a couple guys they think is their core group and get rid of some of the other higher-paid guys.”
Waiting to do any extensions certainly carries the risk of costing the Bears more money, especially when it comes to quarterback Jay Cutler, but it also allows them to avoid locking up a player before they’re convinced that he’s someone they want around for years to come. And while it may lead to some of those bad vibes in the locker room, players looking to score a big contract don’t lack for motivation so the Bears could benefit from their hands-off policy this year even if it means losing a few key players as a result.