Caleb Williams

Why haven't Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze signed their rookie contracts?

Not to worry, this is standard stuff

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It's been nearly a month since the Bears drafted Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze with the No. 1 and No. 9 picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, respectively. They've already completed rookie minicamp and have since participated in OTAs (Offseason Team Activities).

So, why haven't either of them signed their respective rookie contracts?

No need to worry. It's common for rookies and teams to take some time for their deals to get done.

Only two of the 2024 NFL Draft's top-10 picks have signed their respective rookie contracts (Giants' Malik Nabers and Titans' JC Latham), as of this writing.

As it pertains to the Bears, 2023 first-rounder Darnell Wright signed his rookie deal on May 15; 2021 first-rounder Justin Fields signed his rookie contract on June 10; 2016 first-rounder Leonard Floyd signed his rookie contract on May 27.

Roquan Smith held out of his rookie contract negotiations during his rookie offseason. However, that situation was an outlier. Smith was fighting for payment in the scenario he's suspended because of the NFL's newly added helmet-to-helmet contact penalty.

Remember, as it pertains to rookie contracts, NFL rookies are strapped to their allotted money from the rookie contract pool set every season. Rookies and teams are not allowed to go over the allotted money assigned to their respective positions and pick in the draft, as the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) states.

For Williams, Spotrac projects he will sign a four-year deal worth $39.4 million, including a $25.8 million signing bonus. (Remember, signing bonuses are included in the total contract value and cannot exceed the maximum allotted amount to that respective player's contract.)

Spotrac projects Odunze to sign a four-year contract worth $22.7 million, including a $13.3 million signing bonus. Both Williams' and Odunze's contracts will have fifth-year options based on their statuses as first-round picks.

MORE: Here's what rookie contracts for Caleb Williams, Rome Odunze look like

Rookies can negotiate the amount of their contract that is paid in the form of guaranteed money. Guaranteed money in the third and fourth years of their contract is not permissible unless it's similarly guaranteed in the proceeding year of the contract, the CBA states.

Safety Jaquan Brisker sat out before his rookie season while negotiating guaranteed money for the third year of his rookie deal. But for Williams and Odunze, who are both first-round picks, Spotrac projects their contracts will be fully guaranteed.

Performance incentives in a rookie contract can also be negotiated, but can only be related to playing time. Considering both Williams and Odunze are guaranteed starters, they likely won't have clauses for playing time.

The Bears have plenty of time to get all their rookie deals done. It won't become a cause for concern unless one of them remains unsigned heading into training camp, which won't begin until mid-July for the Bears.

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