Competitive windows in the NFL are never as open as you want them to be because of a salary cap crunch that forces teams to cycle through players and make tough decisions on guys they’ve drafted and developed. The Bears haven’t had those problems in recent years because their drafting and development suffered, but things seem to be shifting and the team will now find itself in a bind with at least one standout performer.
Safety Adrian Amos is one of GM Ryan Pace’s success stories. Drafted in the fifth round in 2015, Amos was a four-year starter who provided durability, stability, and production at the strong safety spot. His presence in the secondary helped put a stop to what had been a revolving door at what has been a position of weakness for quite a while. But because of cap considerations, Amos’ future with the Bears is up in the air.
So what’s the potential cost of keeping Amos? Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com has an idea:
They might be in a bit of a cap crunch there. Id guess $8.5-$9M. https://t.co/sOzbf5VJKc
— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) January 5, 2019
A contract in the range of $8.5-$9 million would put him among the top-10 highest paid safeties in the league and chew up approximately 47 percent of the $19 million the Bears have in current cap space. But perhaps Amos’ number won’t climb that high.
After all, Tyrann Mathieu had to settle for a one-year deal worth $7 million last year, which was the largest contract handed out to a safety last offseason. But still … if you consider their other needs, it might not be the wisest decision to invest that much of your team’s available funds at that position.
As it stands, we’re not even sure how Amos figures into Chuck Pagano’s defensive scheme. And even if he does fit in well enough, is it worth it to keep him at the risk of losing another player who could be as important (or more) to the team’s success? And to that end, are the Bears better off addressing the position with an internal replacement, such as Deon Bush, or perhaps a free agent whose deal won’t eat up a ton of cap space? Maybe. And maybe Pace’s history drafting safeties in later rounds gives them the confidence to cut ties now and attempt to find a third diamond-in-the-rough type, who can be a Day 1 starter on defense. These are the difficult considerations the Bears have to resolve before free agency opens up when the new league year begins in March.
For what it’s worth, Amos told Chris Emma of 670 The Score that he hasn’t been focused on his looming free agency, instead keeping his eyes on the Super Bowl prize during a contract year. Priorities, man. And even as the Bears season came to an end, it was evident how difficult it was to move on from what was a magical season and into an offseason of change. In the end, Amos knows what he has put on tape during his four years in Chicago. Frankly, it should help him sleep well at night knowing how well he played and how much he has grown. In a cap-less world, Amos has played well enough to earn a second contract in Chicago. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.