Salary cap space
As of March 17, 2021, the Bears are projected to be $24,386,553 over the 2021 cap.
The Bears rolled over $7 million in 2020 cap space.
March 10 update: The salary cap has been set at $182.5 million.
For the second time in three seasons, the Chicago Bears made the playoffs. And for the second time in three seasons, they were eliminated in the first round. The Bears finished the regular season with an 8-8 record. While at times Chicago looked promising, the team once again had issues showing up against better opponents.
The Bears are in a difficult position and will be forced to make significant moves to fit under the NFL’s salary cap. Right now, the outlook is shaky, but there are certainly ways to maneuver and keep the team competitive for 2021-22.
The NFL powered through its 2020 season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The league played without fans in most stadiums, and limited fans in a handful of locations. The decrease in gate revenue is going to result in a decrease in money shared between the 32 teams. This in turn means the salary cap has been decreased. The NFL has announced an official salary cap of $182.5 million, which is sure to result in some tough choices for many teams.
All salary cap information below comes courtesy of the NFLPA Public Salary Cap Report.
Unfortunately, it looks like the Bears will have to hold onto quarterback Nick Foles and take the cap hit of $6.6 million. But the organization made it clear this season that he would not be the starter after giving him a test run in the beginning half the campaign. Signing Mitch Trubisky makes more sense at this point than cutting him, so the QB spot isn’t somewhere the Bears can save money.
The tight end position presents an opportunity with the emergence of rookie Cole Kmet. From Week 14 and on, Kmet averaged six targets per game and established himself as a favorite of Trubisky’s. There is plenty of potential, which means the Bears could cut 33-year-old Jimmy Graham and save $7 million. And while we’re talking about aging players, Chicago could decide to release 31-year-old Buster Skrine to free up $3 million in cap space and make way for 2020 fifth-round-pick Kindle Vildor.
The biggest question will be how the Bears handle their offensive star, Allen Robinson. It was a roller coaster of a season for the stud wide receiver, and he has made it clear he does not want to get franchise tagged. But the Bears may end up doing it anyways. If they want to keep Robinson happy, though, they will most likely have to free up some cap space by trading away someone like cornerback Kyle Fuller. That move would allow for an extra $11 million in cap space, something the Bears desperately need.