A case could be made that Tim Jennings quickly outplayed his contract with the Chicago Bears.
Signed to a two-year, $6,604,495 deal last March, Jennings went on to lead the NFL with nine interceptions and made the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career, an accolade he even admitted was a surprise.
The good news for Jennings is he will be back on the open market in another year with a chance to get a longer term deal. The better news for him is he earned a bump in pay in 2012, triggering an escalator that will raise his base pay in 2013 by $1 million to $4.25 million. That pushes the total value of the deal north to $7,604,495.
The escalator maxed out at $1 million but had Jennings not played (he was on the field for 84.3 percent of the team’s snaps) the clause included a de-escalator that could have reduced his 2013 base pay by as much as $1.6 million. So, Jennings not only gambled that he would perform well to remain on the field, he gambled he would remain healthy and he did.
Now, the 29-year-old prepares for another season in a new scheme with head coach Marc Trestman hiring Mel Tucker as defensive coordinator. The Bears are expected to emphasize the same schemes they did under Lovie Smith, so that should benefit Jennings and teammate Charles Tillman, who was also a Pro Bowl starter.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune