There is good news to report regarding the Chicago Bears’ salary cap situation going into 2018.
Even though GM Ryan Pace handed out $35 million in guarantees to four players (Mike Glennon, Marcus Cooper, Quintin Demps, and Markus Wheaton) who won’t start in Sunday’s finale against the Minnesota Vikings, the Bears still project to have some of the most cap flexibility when the new league year starts and free agency opens up:
Salary Cap Flexibility Leaderboard
OverTheCap.com’s Jason Fitzgerald lists the Bears as one of the five most flexible cap situations this offseason, and only the Raiders, Bengals, Buccaneers, and Titans project to have more salary cap wiggle room than the Bears.
And while having cap space feels like something of a consolation prize in what has been a drag of a season, consider how much worse the alternative would be. The Redskins, Saints, Lions, Ravens, and Steelers are the five least-flexible cap situations in the league. Two of those teams (Redskins, Lions) won’t make the playoffs, while a third (Ravens) will sneak in on the strength of a 9-1 record against teams with losing records.
As for Chicago, Fitzgerald projects the Bears can make up to $66 million in cap space while limiting its dead money to $21 million. Because the Bears have a developing starting quarterback on a rookie deal, salary cap space, and the ability to create more, Pace and the front office can be aggressive in attacking certain needs (cough *receivers* cough) via free agency without having to worry about long-term repercussions that would otherwise leave the team handcuffed by bad contracts.
This is great news for a team that has needs at various position groups (maybe they can even pay Kyle Fuller to stay in Chicago).
Then again, they’re not the only NFC North team with an advantageous cap situation. Fitzgerald writes that the Green Bay Packers weren’t too far behind the Bears when it came to cap flexibility. The Packers could create $73 million in space, but that would come at a cost of $29 million in dead money, which could ding Green Bay down the line.
If you’re looking for a fun way to waste a few hours, go to OTC’s Salary Cap Calculator, choose the Bears, and see how much you could save with cuts.