Ryan Poles took a big step in his tenure as Bears GM on Wednesday when he signed Cole Kmet to a $50 million contract extension. It was Poles’ first extension and it came on the first day of training camp.
Players typically want to be signed early in the summer because they have financial security before putting their bodies on the line. They’re also able to fully dedicate themselves on the field without the distraction of ongoing negotiations.
Teammates often like seeing these extensions because it’s a sign that hard work will be rewarded.
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A few of Kmet’s teammates are up for new deals of their own this season. The most notable are Jaylon Johnson and Darnell Mooney. On Thursday, Poles addressed contract negotiations for those two guys, without really addressing them.
“I’d say the relationship’s good,” Poles said about Johnson. “He’s out showing that he can perform at a high level and becoming the player that he wants to be and improve.
“We have a process of how we’re going to do things and when we get to that, again, I’ll update you guys as we go in terms of when things get done.”
For Mooney, the Bears want to make sure he’s able to recover from his ankle surgery and perform at the level he did in 2020 and 2021.
“We have a bunch of metrics we’re going to use to make sure everyone is up to speed and exactly who they were, and then we’ll take it from there,” Poles said.
Those metrics include the speed guys can hit, acceleration, deceleration and mileage numbers.
The Bears are still ramping Mooney up to full participation since Wednesday’s start to training camp was his first practice since breaking his ankle in Week 12 of last season. It appears Mooney is still shaking off the rust when he does make it on the field, but that’s to be expected.
The Bears will practice in pads for the first time this year next week.