After Contract Extensions, Chicago Bears Suddenly in Salary Cap Crunch

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Dec 1, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers (90) against the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Bears 23-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Vets to cut

Another harsh reality is that some Bears who are under contract for 2014 will be cut and hit the streets.  Here’s my short list, including the potential cap savings, thanks to

Julius Peppers ($14 million)

There have been some conflicting numbers on Peppers’ cap hit, but according to, a June 1st designation for cutting Peppers saves $14 million for the Bears, with nearly $5 million in dead money.  Peppers was invisible far too often in 2013, going from difference-maker down to just average.  $14 million can buy a lot of average.

Michael Bush ($2.85 million)

Bush is another underperformer.  He’s struggled as a short yardage back and doesn’t seem to fit well with Marc Trestman’s system.  Let’s see what Michael Ford or another undrafted free agent can do and save the nearly $3 million with another June 1 cut.

Earl Bennett ($2.45 million)

I like Earl and would like to see him continue with the Bears. It’s not his fault that Jerry Angelo threw a ton of extra cap money at him because the Bears had no one else worthy of an extension at the time.  The Bears have been buzzing about the potential of Marquess Wilson, which would push Bennett further down the depth chart.

Adam Podlesh ($1.425 million)

Podlesh has been far too inconsistent to garner the big bucks he’s making.  Get a guy in at the league minimum and save yourself a cool $1.425 mil after June 1.

Eric Weems ($1.1 million)

Weems doesn’t contribute anything on offense and while he’s been good on special teams, you can replace him for a cheaper version.

All up, that’s nearly $22 million in cap savings with those cuts.  Add that to the roughly $11 million they still have left over and you’ve got a tidy sum to go shopping.  Our guy Tooch has been looking at free agents and there are a few defensive guys in particular who would make interesting choices for the Bears.