Done Deal

The Bears agreed to terms with their two first-round draft picks late Thursday night, agreeing on a six-year deal with <!--Default NodeId For Michael Haynes is 738187,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:738187]>Michael Haynes</A> and a five-year deal with <!--Default NodeId For Rex Grossman is 738189,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:738189]>Rex Grossman</A>. However, two draft picks have yet to get a contract done.

Haynes could challenge Alex Brown for a starting role and will at least be expected to contribute on in pass rush situations.

"Michael's going to have an opportunity to play," said head coach Dick Jauron. "We're counting on it to a degree. How early depends on how quickly he comes along."

Knowing the Bears situation, getting in camp was important to Haynes.

"My job is to come in and play," Haynes said. "Holding out is not a good thing. I need to come in and hurry up and learn the playbook and just get started."

The 14th overall pick agreed on a contract worth $9.2 million with escalators and guaranteed Haynes $6.5 million. That includes a $1 million signing bonus and $730,000 roster bonus.

Haynes was the 2002 Big Ten Defensive Player-of-the-Year. He had a 15-sack performance his senior season, while forcing seven forced fumbles in 2002. With the free agent departure of Rosevelt Colvin the defense is looking to find a new source of pressuring the quarterback. The team is hoping Haynes will supply part of the answer.

"He's a complete player," said Jauron. "Although he led the Big Ten in sacks I don't think anybody sees him as a bullet up the field. But, he has the size, the strength and the speed to give a tackle problems. How quickly he can learn that from our players, from (defensive line coaches) Larry (Brooks) and Richard (Dent) we'll have to see."

On the other hand it's unlikely that Grossman will play as a rookie. Nonetheless, reps missed in practice can never be regained.

"I just wanted a fair, good deal and to be in on time," Grossman said. "There was just a lot of talk in the media and it's bad press if you hold out. Both sides may not be equally [at fault], but the player bears the brunt. I'm just happy we worked this out."

The quarterback signed a four-year contract that could be worth $16 with escalators in the final seasons. There is an option for a fifth season worth a guaranteed $5 million in bonuses and salary.

Grossman, who finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 2001 and was named the Associated Press National Player-of-the-Year that year, was a three-year starter at Florida (1999-02). The 6-1, 222 pounder started 31 of 35 career games played as a Gator and completed 677 of 1,110 passes (61.0 percent) for 9,164 yards, 77 TDs and 36 interceptions.

With his impressive numbers Grossman isn't used to sitting, but that will be his role as a rookie.

"I don't think anyone on this team has the mindset that they're the backup," Grossman said. "I think everyone is trying to get better to become the starter if they're not already. Everyone takes that mental approach to it and I'm going to do the same. But I realize the situation that we have some good quarterbacks on the team. I'll let them decide when I play."

There were three picks to sign heading into practice, but following the opening day of camp the team inked third-round pick Lance Briggs to a four-year deal. Cornerback Charles Tillman (2nd round, 35th overall) and wide receiver Bobby Wade (5th, 139th) are the remaining Bears draft choices that have not signed.

Tillman and Wade are both likely to play major roles as rookies. Tillman was chosen with the idea that he would win the nickel job, a position that was a weakness of the 2001 club. Wade had good numbers in college as a receiver, but the Bears need him to win the return job. He's got the capability to make big plays, which wasn't evident last year.

"It's critical for them to get into camp and it's critical for us to have them in camp," Jauron said. "Once this process starts there is not the time to go back and spend the individual time with him and catch him up.

Bear Report Top Stories