The Chicago Bears created some wiggle room by restructuring the contract of starting right guard Kyle Long and details are starting to surface regarding its structure.
The #Bears described Kyle Long’s restructure as a win-win and there is enough for both sides to like: He took $2.9M less in ’19 (was due $8.9M), but could make $2.5M of that back in incentives. Chicago turned 2020 into a team option & chopped off 2021 (back to the market quicker)
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 27, 2019
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reports that Long took $2.9 million less in guarantees than what he was due to make in 2019, but can make $2.5 million back by reaching contract incentives. While the restructuring ensures Long’s place with the 2019 Bears, it also shifted the 2020 season into being a team option. Further, the 2021 season on Long’s contract has been knocked off. And with that, Long can re-enter the free agent market after 2020 for his age 32 season rather than waiting another year.
As for what the Bears get out of the deal, ESPN’s Field Yates has the scoop:
As part of Kyle Long’s restructured, Chicago created $2.9M in cap space, per source. Long agreed to drop his base salary to $2.5M with bonuses/incentives bringing his cap hit to $5.6M for 2019.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 27, 2019
By creating $2.9 million in cap space, OverTheCap.com estimates the Bears have $15,466,141 in available cap space. That’s $4,821,814 more than what was projected on February 1 before the Bears started making adjustments.
Long’s restructuring gives the Bears a bit more flexibility as they go about making an effort to re-sign safety Adrian Amos or slot cornerback Bryce Callahan. They still have a ways to go before we can realistically think about bringing back both players, but Long’s team-friendly concession by way of contract restructuring is a step in the right direction. We’ll see what other tricks the Bears have up their sleeve as the new league year approaches.