The Chicago Bears and guard Cody Whitehair have been discussing a contract extension throughout training camp, and on Sunday the two sides reportedly agreed to a deal that will make the lineman one of the highest-paid guards in the league.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Whitehair has signed a five-year contract extension with the Bears. The deal will pay Whitehair a guaranteed $27.5 million, and could be worth up to $52.5 million over the life of the contract.
Schefter’s report indicates that the contract features the second-largest amount of guaranteed money ever given to a guard in NFL history.
Since being drafted by the Bears in 2016, Whitehair has appeared in all 48 games the team has played and has shown excellent versatility in playing both guard spots and the center position. He will likely shift to the left guard spot full time with James Daniels entering his second NFL season, and he will be responsible for helping shore up the middle of an offensive line that has to execute some creative blocking schemes to allow Matt Nagy’s play calls to work.
The contract is the latest in a series of extensions given out by G.M. Ryan Pace to the team’s offensive linemen. Left tackle Charles Leno Jr. signed a four-year contract extension with the Bears before the 2017 season and restructured his deal earlier this year. Right tackle Bobby Massie signed a new contract during the offseason, and Kyle Long, who had signed a four-year extension before the 2016 season, restructured his deal earlier this year.
The Bears will make their regular season debut on Thursday night when they take on the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field.