The Sun-Times has confirmed an ESPNChicago.com report that Julius Peppers has restructured his contract to create more salary cap room for his team next season.
Peppers was due a $10.5 million roster bonus next season as part of his original six-year, $91.5 million free-agent contract he signed last year. Instead of paying the roster bonus, the team will pay that money in a signing bonus that can be prorated over the five remaining years of his contract, saving the Bears approximately $8 million next season.
That's significant when you consider what the Bears could do with that money in free agency. The likelihood that Peppers isn't the only Bears' player who will have his deal re-negotiated this offseason makes you wonder how active the Bears plan to be when ---- if? --- free agency begins.
We still where the salary cap will be set. That will all be determined by ongoing talks between owners and players on a new collective bargaining agreement.
We do know the Bears need a receiver, help along the offensive line and at defensive tackle. There is lots of talent available at receiver, especially when you consider the Carolina Panthers might be interested in trading former Bear killer Steve Smith in the right deal.
It's sometimes hard to know who might become a free agent and who might not given the uncertainty surrounding the new CBA, but Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss and Steve Breaston are interesting possibilities, however remote.