When the Bears announced Jay Cutler’s mega-contract extension, they built in some mega-flexibility into the deal. Any portion of the base portion of his contract could be converted into a signing bonus. Less than three months later, the Bears are taking a trip to the Bank of Cutler to cash in $5 million of his 2014 base salary into a signing bonus, creating an additional $4 million in cap space for 2014.
With the other recent moves, including cutting Earl Bennett, the Bears have about $10.5 million in cap space. That’s a decent chunk of change for walking around money, so you’d have to think that there’s another move on the horizon. So what do you think Phil Emery has up his sleeve? Let’s kick around some possible moves:
1. Jared Allen?
The Seattle Seahawks were supposed to have the Jared Allen are sewn up last week, but he left Seattle without a contract. He was supposed to make up his mind over the weekend but the weekend came and went and Allen is still on the market. Then on Monday the Bears clear a bunch of cap space? Hmmm? Maybe Allen is willing to take slightly less just to terrorize his old team twice a year?
2. Extend Brandon Marshall?
Marshall is entering the last season of his current contract, which the Bears inherited from the Dolphins. Marshall came under some pretty murky circumstances with a checkered past, but has nothing short of spectacular on and off the field since he arrived in Chicago. Might the Bears consider re-assuring their top target with a contract extension? No sense letting that become a distraction during the season. They need a focused Marshall.
3. Backup quarterback
The Bears let Josh McCown walk and brought Jordan Palmer back as the backup. But Palmer has attempted 15 passes in his career in the NFL, so it would make sense to have a backup with a little more “trigger time” backing up a quarterback who hasn’t started all 16 games since 2009. With guys like Josh Freeman and Mark Sanchez on the market, maybe the Bears are loading up some cash to make a bid.
4. They still have 20-some spots available on their roster
Perhaps there’s no big move coming, but a bunch of little ones. The Bears have 60-some players on their current roster, but they’ll take 90 players to camp. If they bring in 6-10 through the draft and another handful as undrafted free agents, they’ll still need to bring in another half dozen players to camp via free agency. That costs cash and cap space. It’s not sexy, but that depth is key during a long NFL season.
What do you think? What’s the Bears’ next move? Chime in and as always…