When it was announced that Chicago was signing Andy Dalton, the early details of the contract suggested it was a one-year pact worth $10 million that included $7 million in guarantees. And all things considered, the deal, itself, was as tough to swallow as the drop-off from a dream of Russell Wilson to the reality of Andy Dalton.
Nevertheless, a silver lining of sorts has presented itself by way of the minutiae in Dalton’s deal:
#Bears $10M contract for QB Andy Dalton includes two years that void automatically. That enables the team to lower his salary cap hit for this season to $5.3M, per league source.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) March 19, 2021
The Bears tacked on a pair of void years on the back end of Dalton’s one-year contract, reports Brad Biggs of the Tribune. And in doing so, it trims Dalton’s 2021 cap hit to $5.3 million. Not only is that a bit easier to come to grips with, it also gives Chicago’s front office a bit more wiggle room to work within the salary cap this offseason.
Void years seem to be the new trend that’s sweeping the NFL’s contract landscape. In essence, it’s a mechanism to create short-term cap space by spreading the cap hit over multiple years. The player still gets their money, but the team benefits by circumventing those pesky salary cap restrictions and pushing costs down the line. When used in the right situation, void years are fiscally smart on the team end while still good for the player.
Then again, doing this while simultaneously setting up to part ways with Kyle Fuller and Akiem Hicks still stings. And it all still makes me wonder … what exactly are the Bears doing?