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Lockout Could Make Bonuses Disappear



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    CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23: Brian Urlacher #54 of the Chicago Bears reacts late in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Brian Urlacher

    If you've ever budgeted for a holiday bonus just to find out that your company is giving you a one-year subscription to the jelly-of-the-month club instead, you may know how Brian Urlacher is feeling. If there is a lockout, the Bears linebacker stands to miss out on more than $2 million in bonuses.

    The Bears player-representative to the union, Robbie Gould, has warned his teammates that the lockout is a strong possibility, so they need to prepare.

    "You know, until there is a deal done and a deal signed ... I mean, that's how you have got to go about business. There are one or two messages. The first message is: 'Prepare for a lockout.' And the second message is: 'We're into negotiations and we're continuing to talk to the NFL and trying to get a deal done.'

    But how do you prepare for a loss of thousands of dollars? A large chunk of players compensation comes in the form of workout and roster bonuses. If the player does his off-season workouts, which are scheduled to begin at the end of the month, he earns a workout bonus, which ranges from $7K to $500,000. Roster bonuses are paid out in June and can mean an extra $125,000 to $1.6 million for select players.

    With no collective bargaining agreement in place, all player activities are stopped. No workouts mean that Jay Cutler can't earn his half-million workout bonus. If it reaches into June, Chris Harris and Gould's roster bonuses can be put on hold or canceled.

    Those numbers show just how large a financial impact can be on the players. No one wants a lockout, but it appears that the players have more to lose immediately from a work stoppage. Even though he's done well financially during his years as a Bear, a $2-million loss isn't easy for anyone to shake off.

    Clark Griswold feels your pain, Brian.

    Thanks to ESPN Chicago for the bonus numbers.