The Chicago Bears have been thrifty with how the team has created and maintained some salary cap breathing room ahead of the new league year, and the latest update is just as encouraging.
Check it out:
Bears free agency update:
Depending on Cordarrelle Patterson’s structure, Bears sitting at ~$21 million in 2019 cap space
Signed 3 compensatory free agents (Davis, Skrine, Patterson) and lost 2 (Bellamy, Amos). Would need to lose 2 more qualifying free agents to be net negative
— Brad_OTC (@BradOTC) March 13, 2019
The estimate from OverTheCap.com’s Brad Spielberger vibes with the calculations from spotrac.com, which has the Bears with $20,451,935 in cap space. So now that everyone is on the same page, let’s discuss what it, you know, means.
Chicago has needs to fill in free agency so they can properly round out their roster ahead of April’s NFL Draft and, of course, the 2019 season (an expectedly competitve one for Chicago). In addition to openings at strong safety, kicker, and punter, the Bears could stand to strengthen their depth at other areas on the gridiron. Spots among the reserve offensive linemen, pass-rushers, and defensive backs come to mind. And if you’ll recall, the volume of bodies the team had in those areas came in handy throughout its 12-win season.
As it stands, punter Patrick O’Donnell, outside linebacker/edge defender Aaron Lynch, offensive linemen Eric Kush and Bryan Witzmann are among the out-going free agents who don’t have commitments to any team and happen to play positions the Bears haven’t filled through other means. This doesn’t include outside linebacker Sam Acho, another reserve who was released in early March to create $2 million in cap space. Nor does it include Bryce Callahan, whose market hasn’t taken off as expected. Perhaps the injury concerns and the Bears’ apparent willingness to jump to sign his replacement Buster Skrine raised red flags for possible team fits.
And we’re not quite ready to jump into the deep end on a Cody Whitehair extension until this first wave of free agency passes, but it’s worth noting that creating cap space in order to fit a multi-year deal for the team’s starting center makes a ton of sense for the Bears.
Turning Khalil Mack’s base salary and roster bonus into a signing bonus in order to create an estimated $11 million in cap space didn’t turn into Le’Veon Bell, Mark Ingram, or Earl Thomas. Bummer. And while that’s certainly disappointing for those hoping Chicago’s cap-related creativity would turn into a monster move, it doesn’t mean things aren’t on the horizon. The league’s new year begins at 3 p.m. CT and the new-look Bears will officially begin taking shape.