Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace spent more than $40 million in guaranteed money in free agency nearly a year ago in an attempt to plug some holes on a roster coming off a 3-13 season. And because the return on investment wasn’t what anyone was hoping for, the team seems poised to cut their losses and re-gain some salary cap flexibility.
Indeed, Gregg Rosenthal (Around the NFL) lists four Chicago Bears players who were signed last offseason as strong candidates to be released before March 14 when the league’s new year begins, including Quarterback Mike Glennon, TE Dion Sims, WR Markus Wheaton, and DB Marcus Cooper.
Glennon is (unsurprisingly) the headliner of the group after his disappointing Bears debut in 2017, when he had more turnovers than touchdowns in his four-game stint, and lost three of four contests before being replaced by Mitch Trubisky. We’ve already taken a look at how much money the Bears can save by dropping Glennon, as well as who might be available to replace him on the bench (in free agency, the draft, and within the organization).
But Glennon wasn’t the only under-performing free agent addition from last year’s class. Dion Sims played 580 snaps to lead Bears tight ends, but was mostly a non-factor in the passing game. Wide receiver Markus Wheaton appeared in 11 more games than Kevin White, but ended up with just one more catch than a receiver who played just 47 total snaps in 2017. Cornerback Marcus Cooper started the first two games and played every defensive snap, but saw his playing time start to dip shortly after his facepalm-worthy blunder against the Steelers in Week 3.
Altogether, the Bears could create $26.7 million if the team released Glennon, Sims, Wheaton, and Cooper before the NFL’s new year begins. That would give Pace ample spending money to hand out in a more productive manner in March while also ridding the team of players representing a failed era of free agency. And that would certainly be one way to move on from an era Bears fans would certainly love to forget.