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Bears not expected to cut back if there is a lockout

As NFL teams develop ways to save money in the event of a lockout, the Bears are expected to take a business as usual approach.

Indications at Halas Hall are that the Bears will not be among the teams enforcing furloughs and pay reductions until the NFL and the NFL Players Association agrees on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The current one expires at 11:59 p.m. EST March 3.

The New York Jets, for instance, are placing employees on furlough if a new labor deal isn’t reached by the expiration. According to the Sports Business Journal, Jets employees in business operations will be required to take a one-week, unpaid leave of absence every month until a new deal is in place. Employees on the football side will be safe until after the NFL Draft in late April.

If no games are lost to a work stoppage, employees will be reimbursed, the Business Journal reported. The Jets relieved 30 employees of their jobs days after their playoff run ended last month but those eliminations were related to the new stadium sales effort.

“Although we fully expect an agreement to be reached, it just make sense to plan for the worst and this plan is about shared sacrifice across the organization to get through a period of uncertainty,” said Matt Higgins, the Jets executive vice president of business operations. “Rather than a straight reduction in salary, furloughs enable us to cut back expenses but also give employees some off.”

Some NFL coaches have contracts that include cuts if there is a lockout. But, the Bears are not believed to be among the teams utilizing that cost-saving measure, either.