The Bears and their top draft pick, Mitch Trubisky, maintained all along that signing a contract was a mere formality.
On Wednesday — 84 days after the Bears traded up one spot to draft the North Carolina quarterback and mere hours before a deadline for him to report to rookie camp — the deal became just that.
Trubisky, 22, agreed to a four-year contract that figures to pay him slightly more than the $26.7 million that last year’s No. 2 overall pick, quarterback Carson Wentz, got from the Eagles. All but about $500,000 of Wentz’s contract was guaranteed, though Trubisky could receive even more in guaranteed dollars. Trubisky’s fifth-year team option, standard for all first-round picks, will be up for renewal after the 2019 season.
His contract signed, Trubisky participated in the first day of the rookie camp at Halas Hall on Wednesday. The conditioning and classroom sessions will familiarize the team’s first-year players with expectations for their July 26 training-camp report date at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais.
Thus concluded a dance that could have become awkward but never did.
Trubisky was the top unsigned draft pick in the NFL for two full months — the Browns signed edge rusher Myles Garrett on May 19 — but he never threatened to hold out, praising the relationship his agency, Rep 1 Sports, had with the Bears’ front office.
Asked about his pending contract three weeks ago, Trubisky said he presumed it would get done. And it did.
“[My agents] tell me not to worry,” he said. “It’s going to get taken care of. I’m going to be ready to go for training camp. My mind will be in the right spot. . . .
“I’m not going to miss any practices or anything like that.”
The rookie wage scale, implemented in 2011, has pretty much standardized salaries, but there are other issues to negotiate. In the Bears’ case, language about offset money — the amount they would pay if they released Trubisky and he played elsewhere — was at issue.
The Bears and Trubisky, though, made sure talks never turned nasty — the way they did last year, when No. 3 pick Joey Bosa held out the first 31 days of preseason camp with the Chargers.
Rep 1 has negotiated the contracts of the last three No. 2 picks, all quarterbacks. Wentz reportedly agreed to offset language before the draft, and 2015 pick Marcus Mariota signed his deal, like Trubisky, eight days before the start of training camp.
Eyes will now turn to the ball, not the pen, in Trubisky’s right hand.
From the second he begins his first training-camp practice July 27, Trubisky’s every throw will be parsed. The Bears were encouraged by Trubisky’s performance during rookie minicamp and organized team activities, but his play in pads — and in exhibition games against other teams — will be a whole new experience for someone who started only 13 times in college.
The Bears have maintained that free-agent acquisition Mike Glennon is the unquestioned starter in 2017. Trubisky, who completed 68 percent of his passes for 3,748 yards and 30 touchdowns at UNC last year, has publicly accepted the circumstances of his first season.
When Trubisky signed his contract at Halas Hall, wearing a navy Bears T-shirt, it was the inevitable end to negotiations.
Now his real work begins.
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