Chicago Bears: Long-Time Bear, Kyle Long, Restructures Contract

Chicago Bears: Long-Time Bear, Kyle Long, Restructures Contract

by March 2, 2019 0 comments

Nobody was more excited to be part of a winning team last year than longtime Bears offensive lineman, Kyle Long. Drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Long is one of the few first-round picks from his draft class to meet or exceed expectations. Starting with his rookie season, Long made three straight Pro Bowls and established himself as one of the best in the league.

News broke Tuesday, via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, that the Bears and Long agreed to restructure his current contract. The 30-year old guard was set to come with an $8.5 million cap hit, against the Bears’ salary cap this year. Ian Rapoport reported that the restructure has Long receiving $2.9 million less in 2019. He was due to make $8.9 million but could make $2.5 million of it back in incentives.

The incentives likely include a number of games played. The Bears also made 2020 a team option and cut out the 2021 season.

For the Bears, this opens the door for them to be more financially free, in hopes of adding to an already strong core of players while also bringing back a very productive player when healthy.

Long has struggled the last few seasons to stay healthy. He played in only eight games this past year and has played in only 26 out of the maximum 48 games over the course of the last three seasons.

Restructuring a contract is a move that leaders make. Long has been a leader in the Bears’ locker room and on the field since joining the team. We’ve seen a move like this work before in Chicago. Only, it was a different team and a different sport entirely. With a championship in mind, the Chicago Cubs came close to reaching one in 2015.

In 2016, the Cubs won the World Series. In case you weren’t already aware, it was kind of a big deal. Prior to the season, center fielder Dexter Fowler took a pay cut and signed a one-year deal to return to the Cubs.

In an era where baseball players are signing record-breaking deals, Kyle Long is taking a pay cut. While certain players from all sports are seeking larger amounts of money, Long seems to be looking for championships.

Yes, it could also be true, that the Bears told him they were going to cut him otherwise.

But even Kyle knows that him being hurt as much as he has won’t help his cause on the open market. He almost certainly won’t be able to make what he wants with another team, making it an even easier decision to stick with the team he loves and has been with all along.

Kyle has watched older brother, Chris Long, win two Super Bowls and one can assume that he has watched tape of his father, Howie Long, in his Super Bowl victory.

If this were Bears teams of the past, Long might not have even considered this, but rather would’ve been seeking a way out of his mundane, humdrum place of work.

However, this is not Bears teams of the past. This past year marked the first time Long had ever played in a playoff game and the first time the Bears had been to one since acquiring him.

Keeping this core together could mean another chance at what he desperately craves.

A title.

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