The start of the 2021 NFL league year is less than five days away. Thus far the Chicago Bears have managed to take care of some important business. Their top two in-house free agents are secured. Allen Robinson was franchise tagged and Cairo Santos received a five-year extension. While that is good news, GM Ryan Pace still has some difficult decisions ahead of him.
OverTheCap.com projects the Bears are still $18.5 million over the current salary cap. That means they must make moves in the next four days to free up enough money to get under the cap. Otherwise, they will receive fines and maybe even lose draft picks. Expectations are the team will restructure some current deals. Cody Whitehair and Eddie Jackson were names mentioned thus far. Others such as Khalil Mack and Eddie Goldman could follow.
That should be enough to do the job.
Unfortunately, it won’t be enough to conduct any sort of business towards upgrading the roster. That is why it is possible more moves are coming. Including some difficult cuts and/or trades. Buster Skrine and Bobby Massie have already been released. Now a source mentioned some bigger names are being considered.
The two everybody has discussed in recent weeks is Kyle Fuller and Akiem Hicks. Combined they count for $22 million against the cap in 2021. Moving one or both is definitely on the table. However, they aren’t the only names mentioned. Another that is a bigger possibility than people think is left tackle Charles Leno. He is carrying a hefty cap charge of $11.3 million. Cutting him with a June 1st designation would bring the Bears $9 million in space.
Chicago Bears cap maneuvers may hinge on their QB move
It is hardly a secret Chicago is hoping to take a big swing at quarterback. The hot name at the moment is Russell Wilson. While acquiring the seven-time Pro Bowler would be huge for the Bears, it would also come with some sacrifices. He would bring a $32 million cap hit with him from Seattle. Even if the Bears restructured his deal, it would still be $20 million. It’s hard to imagine them surviving that kind of hit without some sort of countermove.
This is why names like Fuller, Hicks, and Leno are circled. While losing any of the three would be difficult, none can be considered untouchable at this point of their careers. Hicks turns 32 in November. Fuller just turned 29. Leno turns 30 in October. All three can be considered on the downslope of their primes. Replacing them would be an obvious hassle, but necessary bullets to bite in order to finally solve the quarterback issue.
The next few days are going to be fascinating to watch.
Typically the Chicago Bears don’t reveal their moves until close to the deadline. So expect some news to filter out probably around Monday or Tuesday next week. Understand that nothing is set in stone. Pace has plans for multiple possibilities. It will come down to how the QB situation unfolds. The bigger the splash? The more likely some tough moves follow.
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