Chicago Bears Starter Unlikely to Return: Cody Whitehair, IOL
I am honestly surprised that Cody Whitehair is still on the team. I thought he would be a cap casualty before free agency even hit. I thought that Ryan Poles would add a center through free agency or the draft. Personally, I loved John Michael Schmitz out of Minnesota. When the Chicago Bears traded up to 56, my guess was they were taking Schmitz — a kid out of the Chicago area. Instead, they took Tyrique Stevenson.
If we were to look at Cody Whitehair's 2023 salary cap hit and compare it to the true centers in the league, he'd come in at number two at $14.1 million. He wasn't paid to be a center, but with the addition of Nate Davis at right guard and Teven Jenkins moving over to left guard, Whitehair at center keeps the best five linemen on the field.
Whitehair is not a bad guard and he was a solid center outside of his snapping issues. The problem is that he's 31 years old and not part of this team's future. In 2024, his cap hit will be $13.2 million with a dead cap of only $4.1 million. This has to be Whitehair's final season, right?