Devin Hester surprised a few teammates by reporting to training camp this morning and will participate in activities today, but that doesn’t mean they resolved his contract status. Perhaps somebody told him, “Hey, Devin, if you hold out for a lengthy period of time, you’re going to end up owing the Bears money.”
So, as long as we’re on the subject of his contract, I thought it’d be a good time to discuss compromise. As you know, rookie tackle Chris Williams said the word “holdout” was not in his vocabulary. Maybe the word “compromise” isn’t in Hester’s.
com·pro·mise /ˈkɒmprəˌmaɪz/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[kom-pruh-mahyz]
a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification of demands.
Here’s my proposal: Hester has certainly outplayed his current contract by kick returning standards, but has not yet earned wide receiver dollars. Hence, the team should immediately make him the highest paid special teams player in the league — that honor, I believe, currently belongs to Super Bowl XLII hero David Tyree, with a contract that is worth $7.5 million over 5 years.
The Bears can do one of two things:
1. They can give Hester a 5 year deal worth $8-9 million with incentives that will escalate his salary if he meets certain wide receiver requirements.
2. They extend Hester’s current deal by a year or two and give him the salary hike and then agree to renegotiate with Hester if he meets those requirements.
I don’t think it’s asking too much from either side of the table to agree to these terms. Hester’s earned the right to be paid as the best special teams player in the league, but he hasn’t proved himself yet to earn the big wide receiver bucks for which he’s been clamoring.