Lions, WR Amon-Ra St. Brown Agree On Extension

5:25pm: St. Brown will collect $35.28MM fully guaranteed at signing, as detailed by Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. That figure includes a $16.5MM signing bonus and guaranteed base salaries in 2024 and ’25. St. Brown’s salary in 2026 is set at $27.5MM, and it will shift to a full guarantee next year. Likewise, much of his 2027 salary ($23.37MM) will be guaranteed by 2026.

St. Brown’s cap hit will check in at $4.86MM this season, per Over the Cap. It will jump to $13.9MM next year before ranging between $28.9MM and $41MM after that. One void year is present in the deal.

10:51am: One of the Lions’ top extension tasks is now complete. The defending NFC North champions have a deal in place with Amon-Ra St. Brown, who is set to become the NFL’s highest-paid wide receiver.

St. Brown agreed to terms on a four-year extension’s Ian Rapoport reports is worth more than $120MM. Of that total, $77MM is guaranteed. This deal will lock St. Brown down through the 2028 season.

[RELATED: Lions, Jared Goff Begin Extension Talks]

The guarantees at signing are not yet known, but the AAV eclipsing $30MM will make St. Brown the clubhouse leader at wide receiver. Tyreek Hill‘s $30MM-per-year Dolphins extension stood as the top WR payment for two years, but in an offseason in which Justin Jefferson and CeeDee Lamb in contract years, St. Brown now sits atop the position. In terms of total guarantees, St. Brown’s $77MM surpass Cooper Kupp‘s $75MM.

The structure of this contract will be key, as it took lofty final-year numbers to balloon Hill and Davante Adams‘ deals to their AAV places. St. Brown’s 2028 pay will assuredly be nonguaranteed, but its value will determine how well his camp did. CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson adds some clarity here, noting the deal will average $28MM per year over its first three seasons. St. Brown has $14MM-plus due in injury guarantees in 2026; those will likely convert to full guarantees in either 2025 or ’26.

Regardless of how this deal is structured, St. Brown has done remarkably well for himself. The USC product entered the NFL as a fourth-round pick in 2021. Being a positional salary leader represents the value he has brought to the Lions over the past three seasons.

Famously able to name every wideout chosen in front of him in the 2021 draft, St. Brown has shown improvement in each of the past two seasons. After a 912-yard rookie year, the former 112th overall pick posted a 1,161-yard 2022 season. Helping the Lions secure their first division title since 1993, St. Brown delivered his best work last season. The 6-foot wideout totaled 1,515 yards and 10 touchdowns, firmly entrenching himself as one of the NFL’s best wide receivers. The Lions have rewarded him for the early-career production.

A March report placed the likely value of St. Brown’s second contract between $26-$28MM per year. Bettering that — should the final numbers support the above-referenced WR AAV record — serves as a reflection of the 24-year-old’s importance to the Lions and does well to set the stage for the Jefferson and Lamb negotiations. The league now having two $30MM-AAV wideouts will be good news for the Vikings and Cowboys stars; both should be expected to eclipse this number when the times comes. For now, though, St. Brown leads the pack.

The Lions are not strangers to authorizing megadeals for wide receivers. The team’s March 2012 extension for Calvin Johnson served as the receiver highwater mark for many years. Illustrating how times have changed around the league, that was a seven-year agreement. It also came during a period in which the salary cap was stagnating in the early years of the 2011 CBA. The 2020 CBA has brought bigger cap spikes, including this year’s record-setting rise that elevated the spending ceiling by more than $30MM. Players are increasingly agreeing to shorter-term deals, and St. Brown’s will allow him — should he stay on his rookie-contract production pace — to push for a third contract while still in his 20s.

In terms of production and accolades, St. Brown is ahead of Megatron’s pace. The Hall of Famer was 1-for-3 in 1,000-yard seasons — granted, he was part of considerably worse teams in the late 2000s — at this point in his career and did not make a Pro Bowl until Year 4. St. Brown, of course, will need to unlock another level to be mentioned in Johnson’s class. But he has become Jared Goff‘s go-to player. St. Brown joins Johnson and Herman Moore as the only Lions to produce a 1,500-yard receiving season. The 17-game schedule benefits today’s players in this area, but the Lions will be on St. Brown building on his 2023 performance.

St. Brown’s deal comes during an offseason in which a Goff extension is squarely on Detroit’s radar. Penei Sewell is also now extension-eligible; Aidan Hutchinson will be eligible for a new deal in 2025. The Lions’ roster math will change substantially this year, and this deal serves as the first domino.

Cowboys Pick Up Micah Parsons’ Fifth-Year Option

With the draft approaching, teams continue to make decisions on 2021 first-round selections’ futures. To no surprise, the Cowboys will keep edge rusher Micah Parsons in the fold for at least the next two years.

Dallas has picked up Parsons’ option, ESPN’s Todd Archer reports. The move – which the team has since announced – will come at a cost of $21.32MM, since the former No. 12 pick has been designated as a defensive end. A tender with an outside linebacker classification would have been costlier, but Parsons is nevertheless in line for a monster second contract.

Dallas, of course, has massive financial decisions to make with respect to Parsons, quarterback Dak Prescott and wideout CeeDee Lamb. Each member of that trio is due for a considerable raise, although Prescott is currently entering a walk year and Lamb – having been drafted one year before Parsons – represents a more pressing priority. The latter has said he is willing to wait on contract talks, but classifying defenders as defensive ends (rather than outside linebackers) often leads to grievances.

In many cases, compromises are made with time to spare in terms of multi-year deals being worked out or middle ground figures being agreed to on an option. Parsons has certainly made a case to take the top spot in the league in terms of annual compensation amongst edge rushers, a title which currently belongs to Nick Bosa ($34MM). That extension was signed on the eve of the 2023 campaign, and it has been followed by an historic jump in the salary cap ceiling. Parsons delivered a third straight Pro Bowl campaign this year, leading to a third-place finish in Defensive Player of the Year voting.

The 24-year-old has recorded 13, 13.5 and 14 sacks during his decorated career so far. That has earned him first-team All-Pro acclaim on two occasions (along with a second-team nod in 2023), cementing his status as a foundational member of Dallas’ defense. That will remain the case for at least the intermediate future, but progress on a long-term deal will be a story to follow this offseason.

A recent report on the Parsons situation indicated an agreement is still expected to be reached on a mega-extension. The Cowboys have been notably hesitant on the quarterback and receiver fronts this offseason, aiming to gauge the outside market at those positions before committing to Prescott and/or Lamb. Regardless of what happens with those two, a massive Parsons investment will be needed relatively soon to keep him in the fold and avoid any contractual conflict over his classification.

AFC Draft Rumors: Dolphins, Worthy, Jets, OL, Bills, Legette, Chiefs

In on multiple wide receivers and discussing terms with Odell Beckham Jr, the Dolphins are operating like a team that does not employ one of this NFL period’s better receiving tandems. Despite the Tyreek HillJaylen Waddle duo, Miami is still being tied to a WR move in the draft. Teams view the Dolphins as being interested in Texas’ Xavier Worthy,’s Albert Breer notes. This would verge on overkill, as Hill is one of the fastest players in NFL history and Waddle can hold his own with most active NFLers. Worthy just set the Combine 40-yard dash record (4.21 seconds), and’s Jeremy Fowler indicates he is coming up most frequently as this draft’s WR4 — behind the Marvin Harrison Jr.Malik NabersRome Odunze trio expected to go off the board at No. 10 or soon after. A number of teams — including the Cardinals, Bears, Colts and Bills — met with Worthy. The Dolphins, who also employ De’Von Achane (he of a 10.1-second college 100-meter dash), hold the No. 21 overall pick.

Here is the latest on the draft from around the AFC:

  • Some teams are viewing BYU’s Kingsley Suamatia as a late first-round option at tackle,’s Charles Robinson notes. In one of the best tackle classes in many years, Suamatia could be an option for a contending team in need. The Chiefs would qualify, and’s Tom Pelissero confirms the BYU product visited Kansas City during the pre-draft process. The Chiefs have not re-signed left tackle Donovan Smith, whom they signed after last year’s draft. Barring another post-draft pickup, the Chiefs could use help here.
  • On the subject of tackles, the New York Post’s Brian Costello does not view an O-line investment as one of the most likely scenarios for the Jets at No. 10. Viewing Brock Bowers, Odunze or trading down as more likely options for the Jets, Costello does not see the team addressing a need for a long-term tackle — as free agency pickups Tyron Smith and Morgan Moses are each going into age-33 seasons — stopping a regime under tremendous pressure to win now from adding another skill-position piece. The Jets are being viewed as Bowers’ floor. A trade-down move has come up, but with the heat cranked up on Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh, it is understandable they would want to leave the No. 10 slot with a potential 2024 difference-maker.
  • The Bills brought in South Carolina’s Xavier Legette for a workout, Pelissero adds. Legette blazed to a 4.39-second 40, at 221 pounds, and notched a 40-inch vertical jump. Legette only delivered one remotely productive season in five years with the Gamecocks — a 1,255-yard 2023 that came after four sub-200-yard campaigns — but is being viewed as a possible late first-rounder, the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy adds. Teams are also high on Legette’s run-blocking ability. The Panthers are believed to be interested, though the Bills will be expected to add a wideout early, having lost Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis this offseason.

Saints OL James Hurst Retires

A valuable player on the Saints’ offensive front for the past four seasons, James Hurst will not factor into the team’s plans any longer in 2024. The veteran offensive lineman announced his retirement Wednesday.

Further complicating matters for a Saints team that has seen its O-line plan endure multiple setbacks, Hurst’s retirement strips away a key option for the team. Hurst has seen extensive time at tackle and guard in New Orleans, but the former Ravens blocker will call it quits after 10 seasons.

Hurst started all 15 games he played last season and has been a first-stringer 46 times for the Saints over the past three seasons. Last year, Hurst saw most of his snaps at left guard. But the versatile blocker played mostly left tackle in 2021 and ’22; he operated as the Saints’ regular starter on the blind side during that span. With Ryan Ramczyk‘s career in jeopardy and 2022 first-rounder Trevor Penning having not yet panned out, the Saints enter the draft with major questions up front.

The Saints gave Hurst a $1.5MM roster bonus on March 17, and he restructured his contract last month as well. The team reduced Hurst’s cap number from $6.5MM to $2.9MM, adding void years. This retirement will only leave a small amount of dead money on New Orleans’ 2024 cap sheet, as Hurst was set to be a free agent in 2025. But it could leave a bigger hole on the team’s O-line.

After splitting time between left tackle (in relief of Terron Armstead) and left guard in 2021, Hurst worked as the Saints’ Penning bridge for most of the ’22 season. Hurst logged 913 LT snaps that year, and Penning did not boot him out of the lineup upon returning to full strength in 2023. The Northern Iowa alum wound up benched, but Andrus Peat slid from guard to tackle to replace him. Hurst ended up at left guard primarily, starting 15 games last season. Pro Football Focus viewed Hurst as a better tackle than guard, rating him as a plus pass blocker from 2021-22. Even upon being shifted to a different position, Hurst graded as PFF’s No. 41 overall guard last season.

Peat is unsigned, and Ramczyk — after knee trouble in 2023 — is uncertain to suit up at all this year. After five years featuring the Armstead-Ramczyk tandem, with regulars like Peat and Erik McCoy inside, the Saints are backed into a corner presently. This is a good time to need a tackle, and the Saints are being linked to capitalizing on this deep draft class and bringing one in at No. 14. That path would mean two first-round tackle picks in three years, but the team would be taking a considerable risk by not going this route given what has happened at the position.

A UDFA out of North Carolina, Hurst did well for himself as a pro. He made 95 career starts with the Ravens and Saints. The Ravens used him as a frequent spot starter — at both right and left tackle — and plugged him in as a full-time guard in 2017. Hurst earned a four-year, $17.5MM deal to stay in Baltimore in 2018 but only played two years on that accord; Baltimore cut him following a 2020 PED suspension. Hurst landed in New Orleans on a low-cost deal but scored a three-year, $9MM deal to stay with the team.

Ravens Extend WR Rashod Bateman

Rashod Bateman delivered a healthy season last year, and although the former first-round pick operated as more of an auxiliary target in 2023, the Ravens view him as a key part of their future.

The defending AFC North champions showed this by agreeing to an extension with Bateman on Wednesday. The parties agreed on a deal that runs through 2026. This would effectively be a two-year extension for Bateman, whose rookie contract was set to expire after the 2024 season.

After two injury-plagued seasons and a 16-game 2023 campaign that only produced 367 yards, Bateman was not a reasonable candidate to see his fifth-year option picked up by the May 2 deadline. But the Ravens have reached a compromise with the Minnesota alum. While Bateman has not lived up to his No. 27 overall draft slot, he will gain a bit of security with this deal. Though, the terms will be telling here.

Bateman’s career high in receiving yardage (515) came as a rookie, and the 2021 draftee has only totaled four career receiving touchdowns. The Ravens were counting on the 6-foot-1 receiver in 2022, but a foot injury ended his season after six games. The team brought in more help last year, adding Odell Beckham Jr., Nelson Agholor and Zay Flowers. Beckham, who played ahead of Bateman last year, is out of the picture for 2024. Flowers is in place as the Ravens’ WR centerpiece, with Agholor still on the roster.

The Ravens have been pursuing more help, hosting Michael Gallup and Josh Reynolds (who later joined the Broncos) on free agency visits in March. They ended up signing receiver/return man Deonte Harty earlier this month. With Agholor in a contract year and Beckham having been the team’s second-leading receiver last season, the Ravens looking for more help in the draft would make sense. But this agreement probably buys Bateman more time. He figures to be in Baltimore’s 2025 plans as well.

Mark Andrews remains the Ravens’ aerial centerpiece; he has displayed by far the best rapport with Lamar Jackson. It will be interesting to see how the Ravens use Bateman going forward, after separating with Beckham. The well-traveled standout remains unsigned but is not expected back in Baltimore.

Bengals Exercise Ja’Marr Chase’s Fifth-Year Option

A day after the Broncos officially extended Patrick Surtain‘s contract through 2025, the Bengals are making a similarly easy decision. They picked up Ja’Marr Chase‘s fifth-year option.

Chase became an instant-impact player for the Bengals, representing a central piece in the team’s rise during Joe Burrow‘s early years. This transaction gives the Bengals two more years of control with Chase, who will be tied to a $21.82MM guarantee in 2025.

[RELATED: Tee Higgins Expects To Play For Bengals In 2024]

The former No. 5 overall pick’s 2025 guarantee checks in on the top option tier, joining Surtain and Micah Parsons (whenever the Cowboys officially exercise his option) as 2021 draftees eligible for the highest option price at their respective positions. Chase being a three-time Pro Bowler made him eligible for that WR option number, which matches Tee Higgins‘ current franchise tag price.

Chase, 24, is 3-for-3 in 1,000-yard seasons, getting there in 2022 despite missing five games. Burrow lobbied for his former LSU teammate ahead of the 2021 draft, when a Chase-or-Penei Sewell debate played out. The latter has become a standout for the Lions, even beating Chase to first-team All-Pro acclaim. But Chase follows a long line of standout Bengals wideouts, potentially presenting a higher ceiling than all of them. This option decision will almost definitely precede an eventual extension — likely a record-setting agreement.

The Bengals tagged Higgins in March, but as seven of the nine teams to roll out tags have already agreed to extensions, Cincy has not. No rumors of a Higgins extension have emerged. That is likely because the Bengals have a Chase deal budgeted. In the fifth-year option era, teams have traditionally made first-round wide receivers wait until Year 5 before extensions surface. The Eagles did break that trend for DeVonta Smith, becoming the first team in the option era (2014-present) to extend a first-round WR with two years of rookie-contract control remaining. It would be interesting to see the Bengals go here for Chase, but Higgins’ situation may interfere with that concept.

Picking up Chase’s option would allow the Bengals to squeeze in one more year of he and Higgins. Chase is tied to only a $1.1MM base salary ($9.8MM cap number) in 2024. The fourth-year WR’s cap hit matches up well with Higgins’ $21.82MM tag tender, and Burrow’s cap numbers do not skyrocket until 2025. The Pro Bowl quarterback is tied to a $29.7MM cap hit in 2024; that spikes beyond $46MM next year.

After Burrow’s season-ending injury eventually sank the Bengals last year, this profiles as a pivotal campaign for a team that strung together AFC championship game appearances (and a Super Bowl LVI berth) in the QB’s previous two healthy seasons. Chase played a vital part in that success, and the Bengals are preparing to see if perhaps the final Chase-Higgins season will lead to an elusive championship.

Broncos, Raiders, Vikings Contact Chargers About No. 5; Bolts Eager To Move Down?

The Chargers have engaged in discussions about trading down from No. 5 overall, and that may well be the new Bolts regime’s goal. Other teams believe the Chargers are eager to move down in Round 1,’s Jeremy Fowler notes.

As far as who would trade up, two AFC West clubs are checking in on what would be a high-profile intra-division transaction. The Broncos and Raiders have called to see about moving up to 5, according to The Athletic’s Dianna Russini, who adds the Vikings have also discussed trade terms with the Bolts (subscription required). Both Fowler and Russini point to the Chargers’ O-line interest in this draft, adding to an offseason full of buzz about this direction for Jim Harbaugh‘s team.

While the Bolts are clearly open for business at 5, Russini adds the team is setting a high price. The Vikings, Broncos and Raiders sit at Nos. 11-13; each team could need to part with a future first-rounder to make the climb up (presumably for a quarterback). Minnesota acquired a second first-round pick (No. 23) last month, but some around the league believe the NFC North team is trying to avoid parting with both selections to move up, Fowler adds. It would be rather surprising to see the Vikings secure a trade into the top five without needing to include No. 23, especially with that Texans trade costing the Vikes their 2024 second-rounder.

It would be interesting if the Chargers would be willing to deal with the Broncos or Raiders, given the divisional ties, but a weekend report indicated Harbaugh and GM Joe Hortiz would be open to doing so. Recent draft moves in the NFC North have revealed more flexibility regarding intra-division deals in the early rounds, but the Bolts handing the Broncos or Raiders a potential long-term quarterback solution would mark interesting territory in draft annals. With two of the QB-needy teams in this draft residing in the AFC West, however, the Chargers may not have a choice.

Of course, the Cardinals figure to determine how popular the Bolts’ No. 5 pick will be. Arizona has engaged in trade discussions as well, hearing from four teams (it does not seem to difficult to guess that quartet, with the Giants also exploring a move up the board for a QB) and receiving at least two offers thus far. The Cards trading out of No. 4 and giving a team QB access would stand to give the Bolts their pick of the best non-passers in this draft.

Despite having moved on from Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, the Chargers have been connected to Notre Dame tackle Joe Alt. But they also are being tied to Alabama tackle JC Latham. Bolts-Latham connections, per’s Albert Breer, would seemingly come into play if the team traded down. Latham operated as the Crimson Tide’s starting right tackle for the past two seasons, and the accomplished blocker could fill that post for the Bolts, who do not need a left tackle due to Rashawn Slater‘s presence.

Both the Titans (No. 7) and Bengals (No. 18) have shown interest in Latham as well, according to Breer and’s Dan Graziano, who indicates teams view the prospect as a player who could play multiple positions along the O-line. Latham sits 18th on Daniel Jeremiah’s big board.

Cincinnati likes Latham “a lot” and needs a right tackle, with Trent Brown in place as a potential one-year stopgap. The Titans have a bigger need on the left side, having moved on from Andre Dillard after one season. If Alt is there for Tennessee at 7, however, enough connections to this point suggest that is the All-American LT’s floor. If Alt is gone by 7, the Titans may well consider trading down, per CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones. Latham (or one of this class’ many other quality tackle prospects) would come into play for the LT-needy club in that scenario.

Steelers To Pass On Justin Fields’ Fifth-Year Option

We heard in March it was highly unlikely the Steelers would exercise the fifth-year option on Justin Fields‘ rookie contract. With the option deadline coming in just more than a week, Pittsburgh indeed appears to have no plans of committing to guaranteed Fields money in 2025.

The Steelers are expected to decline an option that would pay Fields $25.7MM fully guaranteed next year,’s Adam Schefter tweets. Teams have until May 2 to exercise or decline options; this has loomed as one of the more predictable option calls for a bit now.

Fields’ value around the league turned out to be far lower than many expected, as the Bears ended up settling for a conditional sixth-round pick for a player who has proven electric as a runner but inconsistent as a passer through three seasons. Still, the Steelers made it clear upon acquiring Fields, 25, they expect him to begin the season as a backup to Russell Wilson. Mike Tomlin has since pried the door open for competition, but as of now, the trade acquisition is on track to go from three-year Chicago starter to Pittsburgh backup.

Both Wilson and Fields, when the option is officially declined, will be going into contract years in 2024. The former signed for the veteran minimum, barely cutting into the record-setting dead money sum the Broncos face. Fields is under contract for $1.62MM this season. Because Fields never made a Pro Bowl but qualified as a full-time player under the option formula, his option number checked in on Tier 3 of the four-tiered structure that came about when the 2020 CBA ushered in fully guaranteed options.

While the Steelers have both Wilson and Fields in contract years, a March report suggested the team is considering keeping both players beyond 2024. This would be a highly unlikely scenario to pull off, given the starting histories each player brings. Neither would stand to be interested in being an assured backup in 2025. This makes a potential 2024 trade worth monitoring; the Steelers have Kyle Allen in place as their third-stringer presently.

With the team not planning to adjust a negotiating policy that mandates no in-season contract talks, Wilson and Fields will be set to play out their current deals. The Steelers are interested in revisiting Wilson’s pact, for now at least, in 2025. It will be interesting to see how Fields factors into this equation, seeing as he is 10 years younger than Wilson, who will turn 36 this season.

RB J.K. Dobbins Signs With Chargers

APRIL 24: The Bolts’ Dobbins deal carries a base value of $1.61MM,’s Field Yates tweets. The fifth-year running back can collect another $750K in incentives. Considering the injuries Dobbins has encountered over the past three years, a near-veteran-minimum deal is not surprising. He will team with Edwards in a Ravens-centric Chargers backfield in 2024.

APRIL 17: It’s a full Baltimore reunion in Los Angeles this offseason. After former Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman brought in a familiar face at running back in former Raven Gus Edwards, the Chargers will now be adding Edwards’ former backfield teammate J.K. Dobbins, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Dobbins joins the Chargers on a one-year deal.

Dobbins, a former second-round pick for the Ravens out of Ohio State, will likely be one of the bigger cases of “what if” in Baltimore’s recent history. Dobbins came to Baltimore following quarterback Lamar Jackson‘s unanimous MVP season in which the team went 14-2. With veteran Mark Ingram getting into his 30’s, Dobbins was brought in to add an exciting, young kick to the run game.

In his rookie season, Dobbins gave a small taste of the production he was capable of. Splitting the backfield with Edwards nearly 50-50, Dobbins led the team in rushing touchdowns (9) and led the running backs room in rushing yards (805) while averaging an impressive 6.0 yards per carry. A promising follow-up sophomore campaign was put to an end before it could even begin when Dobbins suffered a torn ACL in the team’s final preseason game, taking him out for the entire 2021 season.

Injuries continued to dog Dobbins into the 2022 season. He came back from his torn ACL in Week 3 of that year but saw limited use and production as the Ravens played it a bit safe early. After feeling some knee tightness in Week 6, though, Dobbins returned to injured reserve in order to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery. Dobbins made his second return of the season in Week 14 and announced his reemergence with a bang, eclipsing 120 rushing yards in each of his first two games back. A Tyler Huntley-led version of the offense rode Dobbins to a first half lead in their Wild Card game before seemingly abandoning that gameplan in the loss.

The Ravens were excited to finally field an offense with a healthy backfield featuring Jackson, Dobbins, and Edwards in 2023. An extension for Dobbins was even very much on the table for the Ravens. Unfortunately, the worst-case scenario occurred in the team’s season opener when Dobbins suffered a torn Achilles tendon, his second season-ending injury in three years.

Now, after a tough going over his rookie contract, Dobbins will hope to turn a new corner with a new team. He had visited Los Angeles and Kansas City and was thought to be a favorite to sign with the Chiefs before they opted to re-sign Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Talent has never been the issue when considering Dobbins as a free agent. The corny saying applies here: his biggest ability moving forward will be his availability.

The Chargers are well set up to accommodate any setbacks for Dobbins. With Edwards on the roster, Los Angeles can function in quite the same way as Baltimore did with the two. They will be able to utilize Dobbins as much as they desire while relying on the much sturdier Edwards to produce regardless. Dobbins should be getting the best of both worlds here: a second chance with a change of scenery while still be supported by familiar faces that he knows he works well with. If he doesn’t fit in LA, it’s only a one-year audition before he returns to free agency.

Bears Extend Assistant GM Ian Cunningham

One of the more popular general manager interview candidates in recent years, Ian Cunningham is in his third offseason as the Bears’ assistant GM. The team will reward its top front office lieutenant.

Cunningham has an extension in place, according to’s Adam Schefter. The team hired Cunningham to work as Ryan Poles‘ second-in-command in 2022, and despite the Bears not booking a playoff spot in that span, widespread interest has come in the form of GM interviews. While more should be on tap, the Bears are pleased with Cunningham’s work thus far.

This move comes as Poles remains on the contract he signed back in 2022. Contracts for assistant GMs and assistant coaches generally do not match the length of those awarded to top decision-makers, but Cunningham has some security — in the form of guaranteed money — moving forward. The Bears hired Cunningham from the Eagles in 2022; he was one of four Philly execs — along with Brandon Brown (Giants), Catherine Raiche (Browns) and Andy Weidl (Steelers) — to land an assistant GM job elsewhere that year.

Four teams have reached out to Cunningham about interviews over the past two years. Both clubs who were searching for GMs in 2023 — the Cardinals and Titans — met with him about jobs. This year, the Chargers and Commanders did so. It is believed Cunningham was offered the Cardinals’ GM job last year, but he turned down the position — one that ended up going to Monti Ossenfort. This year, Washington’s job came down to Cunningham and 49ers exec Adam Peters. The latter ended up with the position.

Peters came from a 49ers team that has ventured to four NFC championship games and two Super Bowls over the past five years, while the Bears — amid a rebuild — have gone 10-24 in that span. Cunningham receiving the level of attention he has despite the Bears’ on-field performance in this span reflects a high opinion around the league. Chicago’s Poles-led front office has made interesting moves during this rebuild, most notably the 2023 trade that sent the Panthers Bryce Young and ended up giving the Bears this year’s No. 1 overall pick. That selection is all but certain to turn into Caleb Williams on Thursday night.

The Bears now have an interesting opportunity to reset their quarterback contract clock around Williams, providing Poles and Cunningham more roster flexibility. While Chicago was expected to land more in a Justin Fields trade — one that ended up sending the team only a conditional sixth-round 2025 draft choice (from Pittsburgh) — the NFC North team is now off that rookie contract. Williams will not be extension-eligible until 2027. If the USC product shows promise early, Cunningham should not be expected to be around for much of the QB’s Windy City tenure. Until Cunningham lands/accepts a GM role, he will be in place as Poles’ right-hand man.

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