The Chicago Bears spent gobs of money this offseason with the short-term goal of maximizing whatever’s left of this current competitive window. But they did so assuming the salary cap would continue to rise alongside revenues throughout the league.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 figures to limit the NFL’s earning capacity in the near future and that affects the level of the salary cap in the future. Yes, the league still expects to make money, but it won’t be as much as previously expected. Hence, trimming the 2021 cap is part of a plan to soften the blow of a potential financial hit.
When we discussed the salary cap shrinking in 2021, we did so through the lens of how much it could sting the Bears in particular. As it stands, Chicago would be more than $10.5 million over a projected 2021 cap number of $175 million. And that means the Bears’ front office faces tough decisions balancing cap saving moves with trying to be competitive in the near term AND long term.
And yet, Bears GM Ryan Pace isn’t fearful of navigating 2021 with a shrunken salary cap, at least with respect to extensions.
Ryan Pace said next year's cap ($175M floor) won't stop the #Bears from doing what they want to do, in terms of extending players.
— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) July 29, 2020
The whole idea of setting a floor is to limit expectations. It should help front offices prepare for worst-case scenarios, while leaving wiggle room in case better ones present themselves. Because even though no one expects the salary cap to be higher than $175 million right now, there is a non zero chance it can happen. Hence, setting boundaries by implementing a floor is important.
In the end, the idea that next year’s salary cap floor of $175 million won’t handcuff the Bears in their pursuit in handing out extensions is a comforting one (though I’d certainly like to see a little more of an explanation as to why it won’t be more of a problem). But if that is indeed the case, I have an idea for Priority No. 1:
“EXTEND ALLEN ROBINSON!” pic.twitter.com/6liVZQU51O
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) July 20, 2020