Chicago Bears: Moves Ryan Pace must make now to save the season

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears, Jimmy Graham
Chicago Bears – Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports /

If the Chicago Bears can’t trade Nick Foles, Pace needs to find salary cap space

As most of you know, the Chicago Bears found themselves in a salary cap predicament this year. This is partly due to restructuring multiple contracts and moving cap hits to the backend of their deals. That caught up to Ryan Pace, but had the salary cap not taken a due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team would have probably been fine.

Instead, Kyle Fuller and Charles Leno were both salary cap casualties and the team is now weak at both positions. The additions of Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom were just as much moves for this season as they were for the future. Jenkins was brought in to be the starting left tackle, but as already mentioned, this has not been going well as Jenkins is dealing with back tightness and not able to practice.

With only $5 million dollars available to the team right now, there is not much that Ryan Pace can do in free agency to help solve the problem. Therefore, some moves need to happen and happen now. There are a few ways to find more cap space that Ryan Pace could make now.

Extending Bilal Nichols and adjusting the cap hit for this season is one way. Nichols is only 24 years old and in the final year of his contract. Extending him now could help in 2021. Ryan Pace could do the same with James Daniels. Combined, the two account for over $5 million against the cap this year. Creatively, the team could probably save at least $2 to $3 million with a contract extension.

Another option would be going to Akiem Hicks and/or Jimmy Graham to see if they would be interested in a one-year extension. These two combine for over $20 million against the cap. Cutting Graham could also be an option, but it does not seem like that is going to happen. The emergence of Jesse James in camp would make me feel comfortable enough to make this move and if your offensive line cannot block long enough, having Graham does little for the offense.