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What I Would Do With The Bears Salary Cap

By Draco_Brasi March 9, 2020 0 Comment
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The New NFL league year start March 18 th 2020 @ 4pm. This is a big deal as a general manager and the team’s salary cap as you are officially able to operate under a new Calendar year. Salary cap issues, free agency, off season workouts, and the draft all follow relatively quickly after this date.

With the state of the Bears in flux and management jobs on the line, 2020 may be the most important
off season of Ryan Pace’s tenure as Bears GM.

I’ve been extremely critical of Pace since he drafted Kevin White in the 1st RD of the 2015 NFL draft.
Since then we have had a mixed bag of free agent acquisitions, trades and draft picks with limited success to bring us to where we are today. I was challenged by @PaceGOAT via twitter to layout a plan for the Bears off season If I was given the opportunity to operate as Bears GM.

I’m going to break this down by category 1 st giving an overview of needs then layout out how I would
approach each off season task listed:
 Current Players
 Player Retention
 Free Agency
 Trades
 Draft
 Potential UFA signing
 Post Draft FA

As of today the Bears project to have just over 26 million in available cap space with the recent cuts of Taylor Gabriel and Prince Amukamara. With the retirement of right guard Kyle Long and expiring contracts at middle linebacker and Safety, the 2020 Bears have a lot of needs to fill.

Needs:
– Quarterback
– Right Guard
– Tight End
– Wide Receiver
– Offensive Tackle
– Safety
– Corner Back
– Middle Line Backer
– Edge rusher
– END/5T

Current players [cap space 26M]

The Bears have 26 million in cap space but also have the potential to free additional room by making moves within the current players under contract. Today, the bears can add another 2.7M in space with Cuts to Adam Shaheen and Ben Braunecker. This would bring the overall cap to just under 30M. It’s a consensus among Bears fans that Allen Robinson has earned an extension from the Bears. Extending Robinsoncould provide and immediate savings of roughly 5 million with the number I project to be good value for a player of Robinsons caliber.

Potential Allen Robinson Extension

I would offer Robinson a 5 year extension worth 80 million. 16 million per year with 32 million guaranteed.

Year 1 2 million base salary 8 million bonus
Year 2 8 million base salary 8 million bonus
Year 3 10 million base salary 8 million bonus
Year 4 12 million base salary 8 million bonus
Year 5 16 million salary no bonus (can free 16 million in cap with a cut)

This would effectively lock Robinson in through the remainder of his prime years and give the Bears an out once he hits age 32.

What now with the salary cap?

The Bears would now be sitting at 35 million in cap but there is still more work to be done. While a pocket of fans would like to see the Bears rescind the 5th year option for Floyd, I think extending Floyd is the best option. Allowing Floyd to play for 13 million a year lets you know where he stand with the team. Floyd is a very good player however, he isn’t the premier rusher he was drafted to be. This is a blessing for the Bears as I believe Floyd could be extended at a number of roughly 3 years 42 million with 20 million guaranteed.

Year 1 2.5 million base salary 5 million bonus
Year 2 7 million base salary 7.5 million bonus
Year 3 12 million base salary 10 million bonus (In year 3 you can cut Floyd to free 2 million in cap or extend him further if he has an uptick in production)

The extension effectively cuts Floyd cap hit in half for the 2020 Season free an additional 6 million bringing the cap space to 41 million.

More salary cap changes

Another avenue I’d pursue to free cap is converting portions of the Mack deal to potentially free another 10 million+ in cap space. The Bears can convert this years salary into additional bonus money spread out until 2024 at 2 million per year. Bringing the total available space for 2020 to roughly 51 million. That’s some money to play with. This would still give the Bears an out after 2021 freeing 6 million or freeing 9 million after the 2022 season.

How will all this salary cap money be spent?

Now lets get into how we will be spending this salary cap money…

Player Retention [cap space 51 million]

Nick Williams 2 million per year as a Role Player [cap space 49 million]
Cornelius Lucas Vet min. or 1 million per year as a Backup [cap space 48 million]
Kevin Pierre Louis Vet min. or 1 million per year as a Potential Starter [cap space 47 million]
Roy Robertson Harris restricted free agent (2nd round tender 3 million) Potential Starter [cap space 44 million]
Rashaad Cowerd restricted free agent (Original round tender 2 million) Role player [cap space 42M]

Free Agency

The Bears can fill a lot of holes in FA this off season with some BIG names available in positions of need. However, as GM with the limited cap space available Id limit my FA spending going after guys that are not necessarily high priced players but fill positions of need such as Safety and offensive guard. Bears could also address outside linebacker and corner back free agents.

My targets for each position are as follows:

-Safety-
Vonn Bell 6 million per year as a Starter [cap space 36M]
Jimmie Ward 5 million per year
Karl Joseph 4 million per year

-Offensice Gaurd-
Joe Thuney 14 million per year
Graham Glaslow 13 million per year
Andrus Peat 10M+
Michael Schofield 10M+
Kelechi Osemele 4 million per year as a Starter [cap space 32M]

-Outside Line Backer-
Vic Beasley 8 million per year as a Role Player [cap space 24 million]
Jordan Jenkins 10 million+ per year
Mario Addison 10 million per year

-CB-
Ronald Darby 4 million per year
Mac Alexander 5 million per year
Trey Waynes 8 million per year
Bradley Roby 8 million per year

Trades after free agent signings [cap space 24 million]

Interestingly enough, the Carolina Panthers present the best case scenario for all of the possible QB
options in Cam Newton. Newton’s 19 million due this year is far below the going rate for a franchise QB in 2020 He hasn’t been healthy in two seasons, so the bears would have no incentive to extend him.

When healthy, Newton is an MVP caliber QB who is far and away better than Mitch. However, Newton’s health concerns and age have left the panthers willing to move on from him and rebuild with a new young signal caller. Interestingly enough, with the time and money committed to Mitch, the hopes would be he can continue to develop and become a solid starting QB. Newton’s health concerns present the opportunity for the Bears to A. keep Mitch the starter until he falters or B. keep Mitch on the bench until Newton is hurt. I propose the Bears trade a 5th and a conditional 2021 draft pick to get Newton on a one year prove it deal under his existing contract.

Draft Trades

The Bears need to stock pile draft picks. I believe with the amount of talent in the 2020 draft class the
bears will have the opportunity to move back in the 2nd round and pick up a 3rd round pick in the process. A team like Denver could be looking to move up in the draft for a dynamic play maker on either side of the ball and could be a potential trade partner. Look for the bears to move the 43 pick in the 2nd to back to 46 while picking up 1 of Denver’s 3 3rd round picks.

2020 Draft [salary cap space 5 million]
(2 million allocated)

The 2020 NFL draft is one of the deepest and most talented drafts in recent years. As Bears GM, I’m looking to draft players that can add value and fill Roles immediately in 2020. In the below Scenario I’ve traded back in the 2nd round with the Denver Broncos to acquire a 3rd round pick. (Browns, Raiders, and Jets each have multiple 3 rd round picks and could be potential trade partners with CHI).

2nd CHI 46(trade with DEN) Albert Okwuegbunam tight end Potential Starter
2nd CHI 50 K.J. Hamler wide receiver Role Player
3rd CHI 83(trade with DEN) Damien Lewis offensive guard Potential Starter
4th CHI N/A Comp. pick end of 4th Alex Highsmith EDGE Backup
5th CHI N/A Conditional 5th (LV) “Traded for Cam Newton” Starter
5th CHI N/A Lamar Jackson corner back Potential Starter
6th CHI N/A Logan Wilson inside linebacker Potential Starter
6 th CHI N/A Conditional 6th (from Philadelphia) Shyheim Carter Safety Backup
7th CHI N/A Joshua Kelley running back Backup

(4 th – 7 th round pick numbers listed as N/A as the conditional draft picks have not been set by the NFL)

Priority UFAs [cap space 3M]

( 1M allocated)

Kvon Wallace Safety Clemson
Joe Bachie inside line backer MSU
Xavier Jones running back SMU
Reggie Corbin running back ILL
Calvin Taylor Jr defensive lineman UK
Morgan James offensive lineman Cinn
RonDell Carter EDGE JMU
Bryce Perkins quarterback/ATH UVA
Carlos Davis defensive lineman NEB
Javelin Guidry corner back UTAH
Mason Fine quarter back N.TEX

Post draft FA Workouts/Signings (kicking the tires) [cap space 2M]

Jordan Reed tight end
Vernon Hargreaves corner back
Eric Tomlinson tight end
Corey Coleman wide receiver
Jason Verrett corner back

All cap information from this article was found on spotrac and Over the Cap

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