The salary cap is set. Unfortunately for NFL teams, the limit has dropped since the start of the 2020 season, largely due to the COWID-19 pandemic. Right now, teams are trying to fill the flag with a year in hopes that it can be raised in 2022. If the Bears aren’t in bad shape, they should find some room to be under the cap in 2021.

There are two main routes the Bears can take to get under the cap right now. After eliminating Buster Sreen, the Bears are sitting on $190 million. The Bears will receive an additional $5.4 million in support after officially parting ways with OT Bobby Massey. So the Bears will need about $3 million to get under the cap.

It’s entirely possible that the Bears want to contract a few more free agents, which means they can save more money. If this were the case, more action would be required in the two scenarios we will analyze.

Nevertheless, let’s take a look at the scenarios and their implications for the state of the Bears.

Notches

Oh, yes, the cuts. Especially in 2020, we’ve seen a lot more cuts as teams try to get over the salary cap. At the time of writing, Kansas City has said goodbye to two of its star players. It was rather unexpected and an unfortunate consequence of empty stadiums in 2020.

However, the Bears seem to be in a better position than some other teams. Of course, the Bears’ cap situation could change at any time if a trade comes up for one of the two best quarterbacks rumored to be available, but right now the Bears don’t need to spend a lot of money to get the current roster back under the cap.

The first way to clean up money is to cut back. As previously mentioned, there is carnage in the NFL this week, and the Bears could easily win over whoever picks them. Who can be the victim of the defeat of captivity? We’re glad you asked.

Charles Leno Jr.

Charles Leno Jr. has been the subject of criticism in recent years. In fact, he’s very efficient with the money he gets. Leno’s cap hit is $11.294 million and everything points to him being a cap candidate.

Photo: AP Photo/Nam I. Ha.

Graham has not only been productive on the field, but has also played a key role in Cole Kmet’s growth in 2020. Kmet didn’t hesitate to share his feelings about Graham, saying that he didn’t know how the relationship would turn out, but that it has become a great friendship. Graham also said how much he enjoyed playing with Kmet. I’ve always said I love being on the field with him, Graham said. Every time we played doubles, I took it to heart, you know? Because I wanted to make sure I was on the field with him, to enjoy those moments with him.

Unfortunately, Graham is in an interesting position. He could easily be cut to create space for the Bears, but there were rumors that he was also a trade for a quarterback. Graham’s future with the Bears may be the most uncertain of any player this season.

Akim Hicks

It pains me to include Akeem Hicks in this column. Hicks was perhaps the Bears’ most important defensive player in the Ryan Pace era. Yes, even more than Roquan Smith, Khalil Mack, Kyle Fuller and Eddie Jackson. Hicks is literally a bear in the middle of the defensive line, gobbling up runs and tormenting attackers on pass downs.

Photo: AP Photo/. Ross Cameron

Hicks started 15 games last season and only missed the Green Bay game due to injury. In those 15 games, Hicks had 49 tackles, seven tackles for loss, 21 hits on the QB and 3.5 sacks. Hicks’ sack count may have dropped, but he was still an integral part of the Bears defensive line.

But Hicks enters the season at age 32 wearing a cap hit of $12 million. The amount of his dead cap is also low, at just $1.5 million when cut.

There are side notes, but I think the only way Hicks could leave would be a trade for a quarterback, which is plausible because of his poundage dollars. With Hicks gone, it’s safe to assume the Bears think Bilal Nichols is capable of taking over Hicks’ role on defense.

Of course, other players can be victimized. In general, I’m convinced the Bears don’t want to part with any player except in a trade.

Reorganisation of contracts

This route is likely GM Ryan Pace’s preferred method of making sure the Bears meet the salary cap in 2021. Pace has not been afraid to restructure contracts, as players like Charles Leno Jr. and Cody Whitehair have done in recent years.

With that in mind, Whitehair could renegotiate his contract, and Eddie Jackson is also a prime candidate for a change after signing a monster contract that makes him the highest paid safety in the league.

Khalil Mack, Danny Trevathan, Eddie Goldman and Robert Quinn are also players Pace could restructure. If the league thinks the flag will be raised in 2022, teams can get past 2021 by setting aside more money for the following years.

For the Bears, that means keeping their best defenders without leaving a big hole on the roster. There is still work to be done, but by restructuring some contracts, the Bears can add players while other teams continue to subtract players.

There are many moving parts in each of these scenarios. A subtle gesture here or there can make any case more complex. Still, the Bears seem to be in a better position than some teams when it comes to the salary cap.

The Bears still need a quarterback, and key players like Cairo Santos and Cordarrelle Patterson still need new contracts. Pace has a tough job ahead of him, but there will be a lot of movement in the Bears organization in the near future.

frequently asked questions

What happens when an NFL team goes over the salary cap?

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What is the salary cap for 2020?

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the 2020 salary cap is set at $198.2 million, up $10 million from 2019. This extra room will likely lead to spending, especially for franchises that have money to spend.

What is the content of the bear?

The teams are being briefed: The limit is $182.5 million. According to Over The Cap, with a cap hit of $182.5 million, the Bears will exceed that amount by about $17 million in the week leading up to the start of the new league.

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