That Martellus Bennett continued his stay-at-home protest of his contract was of no surprise Wednesday.
However, even his coach knows that the calculus changes starting next week.
“There’s different implications on a mandatory minicamp,” John Fox said after organized team activities at Halas Hall. “We’ll wait and see.”
Those implications: dollars. The Bears can fine Bennett around $72,000 if he misses the three mandatory practices, which start Tuesday.
Whether that’s motivation enough to return is another question.
Bennett wants a raise from the $4.9 million in base salary he’s set to make this year, and $5.085 million in 2016. While the Bears maintain that the previous workouts have been voluntary, they are undoubtedly peeved that Bennett is the only player not present at Halas Hall to learn the team’s new schemes.
“It’s another Wednesday and they’re writing the same (excrement),” Bennett wrote on Twitter. “Doesn’t bother me. LOL. Just silly.”
He has not attended OTAs and did not participate in the Bears’ voluntary minicamp in April.
Last week, Fox said that he “would prefer him to be here.”
Bennett is coming off his best season, catching 90 passes for 916 yards and earning his first Pro Bowl bid. That leverage might be counterbalanced by the fact he has two years left on his deal; players typically lobby for new contracts before their final season.
Both wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and running back Matt Forte, who fall into that category, would like contract extensions. Unlike Bennett, they have attended the Bears’ OTAs despite not receiving new deals.
If Bennett is a no-show next week, his public standoff with his new bosses could turn uglier, spilling into training camp.
The Bears have seven other tight ends on their roster, but only three — Zach Miller, Dante Rosario and Bear Pascoe — have caught a pass in the NFL.
Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley