Chicago Bears: Looking to free up salary cap after 2020 season

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears, Ryan Pace
Chicago Bears (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears have had little salary cap space available in the last few years. Looking ahead to next offseason, let’s look at a few places they can save.

Even before Ryan Pace was handed the position of General Manager for the Chicago Bears, the team had little salary cap available to utilize in free agency. In 2014, the Bears carried a team payroll of approximately $113 million with the salary cap at the time being near $126 million. Bad contracts in Jay Cutler and Tim Jennings handcuffed the team’s capabilities to do much in the offseason.

Flash forward a few years later, and things haven’t changed much in terms of payroll flexibility. Pace was able to make some savvy moves in acquiring cornerstone pieces like Khalil Mack and Danny Trevathan, with both being signed to contract extensions in 2018 and 2020, respectively.

And after a busy offseason thus far, the Bears are approximately $2.5 million under the salary cap. Mack and newly acquired quarterback, Nick Foles, account for the two highest salaries on the payroll with Allen Robinson, Akiem Hicks, and Kyle Fuller not far behind them.

Nobody is going to question Ryan Pace’s intent to produce a winner, but he has just one winning season in five years as GM. Still, better methods need to be determined for sustained success because restructuring contracts and trading away first-round picks is eventually going to catch up with him.

Perhaps he understands he needs to win, and win now, and that a potentially aging roster with bad contracts could be someone else’s problem. However, with several notable players eligible for contract extensions next offseason, let’s look at a few ways the Chicago Bears can free up payroll.