Rookies and quarterbacks will begin reporting to Chicago Bears training camp at Halas Hall on Saturday. But second-round pick Jaquan Brisker doesn’t figure to be among the early arrivals as he waits to sign his rookie contract.
Barring significant developments in the coming days, according to sources, Brisker’s holdout could extend past the full team’s reporting date next week and has the potential to last into August.
Drafted at No. 48 in April, Brisker is in line to be a Week 1 starter, projected to join Eddie Jackson as the team’s first-unit safeties. But Brisker’s early growth and emergence could be delayed if he isn’t able to begin practicing because of his current contract dispute. The Bears’ first full-team practice is scheduled for Wednesday morning in Lake Forest.
It is believed one of the main snags in contract negotiations centers around the amount of guaranteed money the team is willing to offer for the third year of Brisker’s four-year deal.
General manager Ryan Poles, with the aid of director of football administration Matt Feinstein and senior vice president and general counsel Cliff Stein, has signed 10 of the team’s 11 draft picks. But the contract standoff with Brisker could create unwanted tension and add to Poles’ administrative responsibilities as the Bears charge into camp for the first time under his watch.
The drawn-out negotiations also present another challenge for a first-time GM looking to earn credibility while taking over an organization that hasn’t established itself as a consistent championship contender in decades.
In the big picture for both the safety and the organization, the contract squabble figures to be a minor speed bump. But four years ago, first-round pick Roquan Smith’s camp holdout wasn’t figured to be a major deal in mid-to-late July. The linebacker, though, went on to miss more than four weeks of camp and 15 practices as a rookie, which slowed his emergence.
At the conclusion of minicamp in June, new Bears coach Matt Eberflus emphasized how quickly Brisker was picking up the nuances of the defense and understanding his responsibilities on the back end.
“We’re just so thrilled with his talent, with his mental makeup and just the person he is and where he is in his development so far,” Eberflus said. “He has shown everything we needed to see to really look around the corner to see ‘Hey, where is this guy’s potential?’ And it’s our job as coaches and players together to get him to his potential his first year.”
Part of that, Eberflus said, would stem from Brisker simply gaining more experience in the defense.
“There are so many things he has to experience and go through to get the knowledge and learn and put it in his files and in his rolodex there so he can come back to it like, ‘I’ve seen that, I’ve done that before,’ ” Eberflus said. “We’re just trying to put him in as many experiences as we can. He’s going to fail some and he’s going to succeed a lot. But sometimes that failure teaches you a lot more than all the successes he’s going to have.”
Still, without a contract agreement, Brisker won’t be practicing with the team in the earliest stages of camp and might be left to learn from afar until his four-year rookie contract is signed.
Source: Berkshire mont