According to The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma, a source says that the initial reports from ESPN’s David Kaplan and MLB.com are “simply not true,” and that the Cubs have not offered Bryant a long-term extension recently.
The report from Kaplan was hardly a surprise for Cubs fans, as Bryant’s agent Scott Boras has generally advised players not to sign long-term, team friendly deals that buy out years of free agency. The rumored $200 million deal for Bryant would have likely bought up at least three to four years of free agency for the third baseman, and would have pushed the clock back significantly on the day that he could fully cash in on his prodigious talents.
As things stand now, Bryant and the Cubs will likely proceed as they have over the last few seasons, going year-by-year in negotiations. Bryant’s endorsement deals are already beginning to pad his bank account, and the $10.8 million he made last season is the most any player has made in their first year of arbitration eligibility.
Bryant is not eligible to become an unrestricted free agent, free to sign with any team, until after the 2021 season.