Alex Bars

Extra Points: Bears, XFL, NFL Salaries

The Bears had some “inside information” on undrafted lineman Alex Bars, leading to the rookie’s signing. As Adam Jahns of The Athletic writes, Bears offensive line coach Harry Hiestand was Bars’ position coach at Notre Dame.

The talented lineman suffered both a torn ACL and MCL this past September, leading to him missing the season and going undrafted. The organization believes Bars was a draftable talent, and Hiestand was able to vouch for the six-foot-six, 315-pound lineman.

“There is no question he would had been [drafted] — there is no question,” Hiestand said. “We benefited from that. I personally know the guy that did the surgery. His son plays sports with my son back there. And he was like super confident on what was done. People are playing with what he had done all over the place.”

The Bears brought Bars along slowly during their offseason workouts. However, assuming he gets fully healthy, the lineman will have a chance to earn a roster spot.

“He’ll have the chance because he’s smart,” Hiestand said. “He understands the technique. He knows what to do. … But when we put the pads on that’s when you make or don’t make the team.”

Some more notes from the football world:

  • The XFL’s salary structure will be different than that of the defunct Alliance of American Football, tweets Greg Auman of The Athletic. The standard salary will be around $60K, while the top-tier quarterbacks could earn up to six figures. The AAF generally handed out non-guaranteed, three-year deals worth $250K. We recently heard that this paid gig could be enticing to players who are not yet eligible for the NFL Draft. Players who are forced to wait three years until after leaving high school could jump to Vince McMahon‘s football experiment 2.0 to jumpstart their professional career rather than play for free in college while risking injury.
  • With NBA free agency starting this Sunday, Mike Florio of prepares for the pundits who will compare the impending deals to those in the NFL. Outside of each league’s respective salary caps, Florio points to a variety of reasons why basketball players tend to earn more than football players, noting that the NBA has more games and smaller rosters. Most notably, Florio believes the NFL’s top players “don’t squeeze teams for top dollars the way they could or should,” and he focused on the deals signed by Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson. Finally, Florio defends the NFL’s non-guaranteed contracts, noting that NFL deals would be significantly shorter if they were guaranteed.
  • How much money will Bengals wideout Tyler Boyd make on his next contract? One writer believes he should be eyeing deals signed by Giants receiver Sterling Shepard and Raiders wideout Tyrell Williams.

Bears Sign 22 UDFAs

The Bears have quite a big UDFA class. Chicago announced that they have signed the following 22 undrafted free agents:

  • Alex Bars, OL (Notre Dame) ($35K of his base salary guaranteed, $5K signing bonus, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter)
  • Sam Mustipher, OL (Notre Dame)
  • Daryle Banfield, DL (Brown)
  • John Baron II, K (San Diego State)
  • Matt Betts, LB (Laval)
  • Blake Blackmar, OL (Baylor)
  • Ian Bunting, TE (California)
  • Jomon Dotson, DB (Nevada)
  • Clifton Duck, DB (Appalachian State)
  • Emanuel Hall, WR (Missouri)
  • Jonathan Harris, DL (Lindenwood)
  • Chuck Harris, LB (Buffalo)
  • Thomas Ives, WR (Colgate)
  • Doyin Jibowu, DB (Fort Hays State)
  • Joe Lowery, OL (Ohio)
  • Lawrence Marshall, DE (Michigan)
  • Adarius Pickett, DB (UCLA)
  • Dax Raymond, TE (Utah State) ($30K of his base salary guaranteed with a $15K signing bonus, per Wilson on Twitter)
  • Ellis Richardson, TE (Georgia Southern)
  • Josh Simmons, DB (Limestone)
  • Marquez Tucker, OL (Southern Utah)
  • John Wirtel, LS (Kansas)

The Bears opted for a lot of small school players, adding guys from places like Limestone, Colgate, Fort Hays State, Lindenwood, and Laval. The signings of Bars and Mustipher are notable because they have a connection to the coaching staff. Both players were coached by current Bears offensive line coach Harry Hiestand when they were at Notre Dame. The Bears hired Hiestand away from Notre Dame before last season, and he knows what he’s getting in these two players.

It’s also notable that the Bears signed a kicker, because the job will be up for grabs in training camp. Chicago is looking to replace Cody Parkey after his disastrous 2018 season, and they need someone consistent. Baron was a solid college kicker at SDSU with a big leg, as his career long was 54 yards, which is pretty impressive for a college kicker. The Bears already have former AAF kicker Elliott Fry and former Tulsa kicker Redford Jones on the roster, so they’re clearly planning on having a battle royale kicking competition this offseason.