We’re just a few weeks away from NFL Free Agency, which means some of your favorite players could be on the chopping block. Usually during the NFL season, the salary cap is set at the last minute, but this year is a little different.

Throughout the season, there were reports of revenue losses due to VIDOC-19, which may have forced the NFL to lower the salary cap. The NFL’s salary cap has only been lowered once before, following the 2011 lockout. Since 2012, the NFL has raised the salary cap by at least $10 million per year. The NFL’s 2020 list took a hit in what was an unusual year, to say the least. The NFL’s seventh playoff spot and new TV contracts have led to skepticism about the drastic reduction in the salary cap.

Then it happened.

A memo from the NFL to teams states that the salary cap has been increased from $175 million to $180 million after negotiations with the NFLPA.

– Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) February 18, 2021

Last year’s limit was $175 million and the cap was $198 million, giving teams $23 million of leeway. Earlier this year it was reported that the salary cap could rise to $190 million in 2021. If the limit is now $180 million, this window would be reduced to $10 million. That would be a challenge for the front offices. According to my projections, the salary cap would be reduced by +/- $2 million from the 2020 figure. ($198 million).

The Bears need my prediction to be correct. They are currently at $194 million and their contracts are not included in that number. They also don’t have a quarterback or a number one receiver. No matter what happens with the salary cap, the Bears are going to have to deal with it either way. If everyone likes to say that “the salary cap is a myth,” the Eagles thought so too. They’re not in Narnia. They gave it all away, and that led to the Super Bowl, followed by the rebuild. While a Super Bowl sounds good, the idea of continued success is much more appealing.

The table below lists the five candidates for the 2021 Bears’ off-season selections.

Players Cap Hit Dead cap. Savings
Akeem Hicks Twelve million dollars. $1.5 million. $10.5 million.
Anthony Miller $1.7 million. 0.5 million $1.2 million.
Bobby Massey. 9.3 million. $2.6 million. $6.7 million.
Interferer 6.1 million 3.3 million. $2.8 million.
Jimmy Graham. $10 million. Three million dollars. 7 million

Akeem Hicks

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The Chicago Bears defense stops Akeem Hicks (96) in the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, California on Sunday, December 23, 2018 (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)

“data-medium-file=”https://i1.wp.com/ontapsportsnet.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Akeim-Hicks-49ers.jpg?fit=300%2C180&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i1.wp.com/ontapsportsnet.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Akeim-Hicks-49ers.jpg?fit=1000%2C600&ssl=1″ load=”ленивая” width=”1000″ height=”600″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/ontapsportsnet.com/wp content/uploads/2021/02/Akeim-Hicks-49ers.jpg?resize=1000%2C600&ssl=1″ alt=”Akiem Hicks Salaris” class=”wp-image-118515 jetpack-lazy-image” data-recalc-dims=”1″ data-lazy- data-lazy- data-lazy-src=”https://i1.wp.com/ontapsportsnet.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Akeim-Hicks-49ers.jpg?resize=1000%2C600&is-pending-load=1#038;ssl=1″ />Foto : Д. Росс Кэмерон/АП

Let’s take the bandage off. I hate to write it down as much as you hate to read it. If the Bears decide to drop Akiem Hicks to save that $10.5 million, that enters the dictionary as the definition of “cap casualty.”

Hicks came into Chicago’s defense and helped restore the type of defense that Bears fans are used to. No one wants to see the man who growled at Drew Brees leave the Chicago Bears, including the front office. Unfortunately, this may be one of those “business decisions” we always hear about.

Firing Hicks would be the most beneficial move for the Bears this season from a salary cap standpoint. If the Bears had a 25th-ranked defense and a top 10 offense, it wouldn’t be an issue. If the Bears had a quarterback on their roster, there would be no debate. As we know, neither scenario is up for debate. The emergence of Bilal Nichols and the expected return of Eddie Goldman make it even more questionable.

Ryan Pace has proven he can find serviceable signings on the defensive line at a good price. Will that be Pace’s thought process as he decides the fate of Hicks? Pace and Hicks have a history together. Hicks still plays at a high level, but the problem of injuries and time spent with his father are catching up with him. Maybe Ryan Pace is asking Hicks to take a pay cut or find a spot for the cap. All I know is that Akeem Hicks would be sorely missed if he wasn’t a bear in 2021.

Anthony Miller

Photo: Bob Donnan/USA Today’s Sports

Anthony Miller’s situation is completely different from Akeem Hicks’. The Bears could save just over a million dollars by getting Miller out. The Bears and George McCaskey fans were never on the same page until they saw Anthony Miller cut C.J. Gardner-Johnson. Now it seems everyone wants Miller out of Chicago.

Ejection aside, Miller’s production has declined since 2018. In his rookie season, it looked like Miller could become a powerful niche receiver. But over the past three years, we’ve had constant reports of “attention to detail.” Miller always ran his routes through a yard that was too deep or a yard that was too shallow. Matt Nagy wants to run a systematic offense, while Miller tends to derail it. It seems that Miller either made miraculous catches or dropped his usual catches. Personally, I think the talent is there and it’s another one of Nagy’s failed situations. Inconsistent shots lead to inconsistent acting, and Matt Nagy’s refusal to adapt to Anthony Miller’s skills limits his production. I wouldn’t be surprised if Miller moves to another team and looks like a completely different player. This happens so often that I’m going to use the term “The Nagy Effect.”

The editor should be Allen Robinson or another UFA receiver. If Robinson gets an extension or a franchise tag, every million helps him. If Robinson doesn’t get the tag, get a player like Ted Ginn for a million dollars.

Bobby Massey.

Bobby Massey is one of the most likely candidates for a cut. The $6.7 million savings far outweighs the $2.6 million in dead money. Massey and Charles Leno are regularly dragged down by Bears fans. For one thing, the Bears get value for their money. Leno is the 19th highest paid tackle and Massey is the 29th. Second, neither player was an issue until Matt Nagy walked into the building. I’m not going to defend the part of the game we saw from the Bears, but it’s fair to point out some variables.

However, Massie’s decline in production, combined with an absence of 14 games in the last two seasons, makes this a pretty easy decision for the Bears’ front office. Bears fans may have seen Massie’s last game in the Navy and Orange, but Charles Leno will not be a Cup candidate until next year.


The Buster screen is the most obvious candidate for reduction. At this stage, it’s mostly about his health. Screen has suffered six concussions in his career. His most recent concussion against the Jets in 2020 appears to be the most concerning. Skrine has missed the last five games of the season, and her situation is as serious as Taylor Gabriel’s concussion in 2019. Gabriel has signed for the 2020 season, and I would not be shocked if Skrine decided to retire. Skrine has had a long career, and her health problems at this point could outweigh her Super Bowl aspirations. Either way, the Bears owe him $6.1 million and could save $2.8 million by throwing him out. Kindle Wildor and Duke Shelley’s games at the end of the season should be enough to make this decision easy.

Jimmy Graham.

Photo: ChicagoBears.com

Jimmy Graham’s signing was the most criticized decision of the 2020 offseason. I bet if you asked Graham’s immediate family if he was overpaid, they would say yes. Graham was the eighth highest paid prospect in 2020, with 4.75 targets per game (19) and 456 yards receiving (19), in addition to eight touchdowns (4). It was hard to believe that old Graham would be the same yard-eater as before, but he was the same red zone threat. Inside the ten-yard line, Graham was just one target and one touchdown behind Travis Kelcey. Of course, Kelce contributes much more outside the red zone, but the numbers above aren’t bad for the 34-year-old.

The Bears brought in Graham to replace the injured Trey Burton and he played all 16 games. He brought a steady veteran presence to a tight end that was a mess last year. The argument that he may have been paid a little too much may be valid, but to say he was a bad signing is an exaggeration. The Bears could save $7 million by letting Graham go, and that’s entirely possible. Graham said he would like to end his career in Chicago, but we’re not sure Ryan Pace is waiting for his old friend from New Orleans.

Every year, NFL CEOs must make “business decisions” about their rosters. Sometimes this is an obvious limit, and sometimes other variables come into play. It doesn’t matter when people say “the salary cap doesn’t matter,” it does. Salary caps force teams to reduce the number of players each year. Who is going to be for the Bears this year?

Frequently asked questions

How much leeway do bears have?

The Bears will be out of the championship in 2021, just like last year – they need a quarterback, don’t have much cap space and aren’t a very good team. According to Over the Cap, the Bears are currently $89,572 over the cap of $176 million.

What is the NFL salary cap for 2021?

The NFL’s salary cap has been raised for 2021. Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reported Thursday that a memo to NFL teams says the salary cap was raised from $175 million to $180 million after negotiations with the NFLPA, according to sources familiar with the situation.

What is the salary of the Chicago Bears?

As of Thursday, January 14, 2021, the Bears exceed the salary cap of $89,572 in 2021.

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