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Bears Find A Way Around Rookie Salary Cap Crunch


I'm not going to pretend to really have a strong understanding of the salary cap.  I know the basics and generally that is enough to do what I need to do.   The league seems to have hamstrung teams on the salary cap as it pertains to rookies.

When the league last raised the minimum salaries it did not adjust the rookie pool accordingly, making it difficult (impossible in some cases) to squeeze in all the picks while giving the annual bump in pay.

So the Bears used a process that is typically used for second round picks, which is Not Likely To Be Earned incentives.

The Bears' rookie pool, essentially a salary cap within the salary cap, was $3,497,111. After signing seven of their nine draft picks there simply wasn't enough rookie pool left for Gilbert and Iglesias to both get proper signing bonuses. So instead of putting the squeeze on one player, the Bears found a way to make it as fair as possible. The NLTBE, in this instance, is earned by playing time and the higher the draft pick, the better chance he has of being on the field to trigger the one-time payment. In theory, any way.

Here is how it broke down:

Jarron Gilbert, $740,000 signing bonus, $146,500 NLTBE, total bonus money $886,500

Juaquin Iglesias, $500,000 signing bonus, $119,900 NLTBE, total bonus money $619,900

Both players have escalators in the final year of the deal and with the base salaries Gilbert's contract is worth $2,636,500 and Iglesias' totals $2,369,900.


Read the article for more detail.

My questions are these and if any of you can answer them I'd much appreciate it.

1) Maybe the salary cap changes, but last year we had 4-5 more picks to sign, but were able to.  Even if they didn't bump that money, shouldn't the extra still be there?

2) Almost every other team has at least a 1st and a 2nd, some have two firsts.  We start with a third round pick and go down.  Why haven't we heard about more teams having problems signing their guys?

Is it a case of the Bears not dedicating enough to the salary cap?