The Bears made a big splash in free agency when they signed Danny Trevathan, who was the best inside linebacker available, and didn’t grossly overpay to make it happen. They signed him to a good, fair deal.
Let’s look at the details of Trevathan’s four-year contract with the Bears.
Total: $24.5 million
Annual average: $6.125 million
Guaranteed: $12 million
Signing bonus: $5 million
Roster bonus: $3.5 million, which he’ll receive on Monday, the fifth day of 2016 league year.
Important notes: His base salaries of $1.5 million for 2016 and $2 million for 2017 are fully guaranteed. He has a $500,000 roster bonus due the fifth day of the 2019 league year. He has annual workout bonuses of $100,000.
Overall, it’s a fair deal for Trevathan. His annual salary of $6.125 million puts him at No. 11 for inside linebackers, according to spotrac.com, a contract analysis website. Trevathan’s $24.5 million total ranks ninth among inside linebackers. Nearly half of Trevathan’s contract also is guaranteed.
With NFL teams having approximately $1 billion in salary-cap space, it was a great year to get paid for players, and plenty of teams spent big money. The deals that defensive end Malik Jackson (Jaguars), guard Kelechi Osemele (Raiders), cornerback Janoris Jenkins (Giants), defensive end Olivier Vernon (Giants), quarterback Brock Osweiler (Texans) and receiver Marvin Jones (Lions) received stand out.
Trevathan, a former sixth-round pick, is a very talented player. He was Pro Football Focus’ top-rated inside linebacker in free agency. But Trevathan has an injury history to consider and lacks Pro Bowl and All-Pro credentials.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace wanted to stay within certain parameters when it came to free agency. The Bears had money to spend and ample cap space, but Pace wanted to avoid bidding wars. The Bears, as Pace strongly maintains, will be built through the draft, not through reckless spending in free agency.
As it turns out, Pace and chief negotiator Joey Laine deserve plenty of credit for what they’ve been able to accomplish in free agency.
Just look at the Bears’ two biggest free-agent signings in Pace’s two years. The Bears added outside linebacker Pernell McPhee ($7.75 million annual average) and Trevathan ($6.125 million) for less than the Jaguars have committed to Jackson, who has a yearly average of nearly $15 million.
How did the Bears secure Trevathan?
The Bears will introduce him at press conference at Halas Hall on Thursday. But his relationship with coach John Fox and director of pro scouting Champ Kelly from their days with the Broncos had plenty to do with it.
Either way, the Bears signed a new centerpiece for their defense without having to break the bank.
Follow me on Twitter @adamjahns