Matt Nagy has expressed full confidence nose tackle Eddie Goldman will report for training camp.
If he doesn't, the NFL will pay him him again.
According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, players can opt out for 2021 due to COVID-19 issues by 3 p.m. July 2 and receive a $350,000 stipend for not playing. The news of this came in a memo sent Wednesday discussing the agreement between the NFL and NFLPA on this topic.
Instead of collecting his $350,000 stipend and sitting at home, Goldman could actually show up for training camp and would receive his salary of $4.75 million this season. He was also to receive a $100,000 workout bonus but he did not work out with the team at OTAs and did not report to mandatory minicamp.
"I don't think it’s in doubt," Bears coach Matt Nagy said when asked if Goldman would be in camp. "I really feel confident that he is going to be here. Obviously when someone is not in minicamp that's probably what a lot of people will think and start wondering what the deal is and that's natural and OK and normal.
"But we fully expect him to be there and again I'm just super pumped about all the guys that are here right now and just where they are at."
What Goldman would need to decide is whether he wants to risk a second straight year off his career while he's still in his prime as a player, or risk whatever COVID-19 concerns he has or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Bears signed veteran defensive lineman Mike Pennel after minicamp, which may or may not say something about how confident they really are in Goldman coming to camp. Then again, they also have Bilal Nichols suffering from a toe injury late in minicamp and the move could have been made to address this. Pennel, who is 6-foot-4, 330 pounds has played far more as a defensive end in a 3-4 than he has at nose tackle.
Nagy wasn't the only one expressing the belief they would see Goldman.
"Eddie Goldman, he's a silent killer, man," linebacker Danny Trevathan said. "Works his tail off, loves his job. He's one of those guys that does his job, doesn't talk too much but he works his tail off."
Except for last year.
"Unfortunately, we didn't have him last year," Trevathan said. "It's going to be great to have him this year. I know he's gonna be here. He's been working his tail off. He looks totally different.
"I've been communicating with him as much as possible—he's a tough guy to get in contact with—but he loves us. He loves the Bears organization. He loves the defense. So he's gonna come here ready to work."
Trevathan didn't explain how Goldman looks totally different. Perhaps he lost weight at a position where a player needs the extra weight. Maybe he has a full beard or shaved his head.
There were two brief videos posted on Instagram of Goldman working out with weights in June, and it was difficult to tell anything from those.
There were a few other Bears opt outs last year, but they were at minicamp. Former Chiefs running back Damien Williams was one but was still with Kansas City in 2020. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin was traded by San Francisco to Philadelphia, opted out, then reverted back to the 49ers because of the opt-out. The 49ers cut him and Bears signed him. Bears safety Jordan Lucas opted out last year after being signed as a free agent. Also, cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. opted out of his final college season at Oregon, and wound up being drafted in the sixth round.
Goldman, a Pro Bowl alternate in 2019, has always worked under former Bears defensive line coach Jay Rodgers and now Chris Rumph is coaching the line.
"Hopefully with Eddie Goldman it's like riding a bike," Rumph said. "He'll just pick it back up and start pedaling again. He probably won’t be able to pop any wheelies right now, but eventually he will be able to pop some wheelies.
"So I'm just excited to get him back in the building."
That is, if he is in the building and not collecting $350,000 instead of working for $4.75 million.