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Lockout Could Make Bonuses Disappear

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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.

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