Bears to hire new contract negotiator; Cliff Stein remains as General Counsel

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Highly regarded Chicago Bears lead contract negotiator Cliff Stein is assuming a slightly different role.

Multiple sources told ESPN.com on Wednesday the club is in the process of hiring a new front office employee from outside the organization to negotiate the majority of player contracts.

The Chicago Sun Times reported Wednesday evening the Bears are expected to hire former New Orleans Saints Salary Cap Analyst Joey Laine, who has ties to Bears general manager Ryan Pace.

Stein will remain the Bears’ General Counsel, a title he’s held since May 2007.

Over recent years Stein has developed the reputation as one of the league’s top contract negotiators. The Bears annually are the first team to sign of all their draft picks, in large part because of Stein’s efforts. Under Stein, the Bears have experienced no salary-cap issues of note despite awarding large contracts in the past five years to players such as quarterback Jay Cutler and defensive end Julius Peppers.

Stein joined the team in February 2002 as the director of player contracts and legal affairs.