Chicago Sun-Times

Bears have NFC North-high $24 million in cap space

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The NFL announced that the salary cap modestly increased to $120.6 million over the weekend. And including Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte's $7.7 million franchise tag, the Bears still have $24 million in salary cap space, according to a league source.

That's the most in the NFC North, but the Minnesota Vikings aren't too far behind, after a weekend purge that included the release of cornerback Cedric Griffin, perennial All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson and guard Anthony Herrera.

According to Pro Football Talk, the Green Bay Packers were $5.4 million over as of Sunday, and the Detroit Lions were $11.5 million over.

With $24 million in space, the Bears have the flexibility to make one major signing, ie. defensive end Mario Williams or receiver Vincent Jackson. Keep in mind, the Bears will need to set aside several million to sign its rookie class and account for any injury during the season.

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What is going to happen with Marion Barber for this season? His salary is $2 million dollars in 2012. Most likely a third string running back. If they release him, will this all apply to the 2012 cap?

Couldn't they potentially free up a lot more space by releasing underperforming players under contract today? ie. Marion Barber ($1.9m), Spaeth ($1.8m), anyone else I'm missing?

Also, do they have any cap leftover from 2011 that could be used to resign their own players?

I would keep an eye on the Packers. Scott Wells will not be re-signed, but they may have to drop someone else who might be of interest, like James Jones as a #2 receiver. We could use both. Jones has some drop issues, but so do all of the receivers on the market, and Jones is a more dangerous WR than a Pierre Garcon would be. You bring in Wells, and you can move Garza back to RG, and we are set for a few years at center.

Not sure I would look at Hutch with his recent injury history, but if he is healthy, Ced Griffin was a good fit for our defense. If he is back to 100%, he could be a nice complement to Tillman, but I would rather get a young guy that doesn't have the repeated knee issues.

As far as the Lions, not sure anyone good is going to come free, unless they rescind the tag from Avril and let him hit the market if they can't get a deal done prior to tomorrow.

We are in a decent spot, but I expect with all of our open roster spots, we don't make the huge splash, and we make a group of smaller ones to get some holes filled, and then shoot for 3-4 starters out of this draft. Most good teams get 3 per draft, and we haven't gotten 3 starters out of a single draft in 5 years....2011 looks promising with Carimi, Paea, and Conte, but not much prior to that.

Yea I read something like $34 in space before they tagged, Forte, what gives?

Slash list...
Barber - $2M
Bowman ~$1.5...?
Hanie - $1
MerriWeather - $3.5M
Idonije- $2.8M (assuming he walks)

That's about $10-11M more coming. Covers rookies they have to sign with another $5-7 to spend on an additional free agent.

Corey Graham could be cut also, anothe 1-2 M I think

Bears should spend it on
Mario Williams - $14
Hawthorne - $7M (realistic?)
Carr - $6M
Colston/Laurent Robinson/ Pierre Garcon/ Meachem / Plaxico - $4 M

structure these deals (4-6 years) to pay more in the latter half, when Peppers and urlacher are most likely gone. Standard NFL deal with certain amounts guaranteed. Then draft a receiver and O tackle in the first 2 rounds. Draft LBs and defensive backs the rest of the draft. Not that difficult.


Bowman, Hanie, Merriweather, Graham, and Idonije are all FA's. Their previous salary doesn't count towards this year's cap. They could make a bit more room getting rid of Barber or Spaeth but they appear to have made most of the cuts that they will need to until after the draft unless they are trying to upgrade over players currently on the roster through free-agency. That seems unlikely given their needs (DE, CB, WR) and the limited number of players they have under contract at those positions, except WR.

I also saw it listed at 19 mil, just saying. Williams would be nice but I don't think they can afford that much money at one position. That can't afford a receiver and Williams at least not a good receiver. I am sure Lovie would love to have him, Chicago would love to have him, but my guess is he goes to the Seahawks. The have a ton of cap room, they are intrested and they have the richest owner in the league. Also I think Washington is going after Jackson, to go with there new QB that they will be drafting. Oh and who called that trade? Not only called it but said exactly what they would pay to move up. Ummm I am going to go ahead and say me, that's how daddy does it Sean. Can't believe people thought it would be the Browns, one of the most conservative teams in football. Whoever the guy is who is doing the mock draft for the score, has eat his hat now, literally we were debating this and he was sticking with the Browns. I'll let him off easy.

Anyway it will be intresting to see what goes down shortly. I heard Manningham turned down 45 mil, that's kind of scary.

I know one thing about the Bears no matter what there cap room is they won't break the capo and they will not max it either. They always leave room for a mid-season pick up.

Sean let me ask you something or anyone really. What does it say about the Bears, that 2 years ago they had to sign Peppers and now they want to sign Williams? Let me be clear I have no problem with Williams, and if they sign him, they sign him and good for them. But where are the developed players, they said that's why they brought in Rod Marinelli. We all know the Giants had a ton of pass rushers who they drafted and developed. It's not even just a want it's a need. And the truth is he is best player they could get, per position Williams is the best, he is to ends what Fitzgerald is to receivers. I don't like the idea that they have to do it, not that they want to do it. It will kill there cap, ties up a ton of money at one position and you still have not helped Jay. It also makes me believe that Lovie has more say than Emery, maybe Emery or maybe Emery loves Williams as an FA because he is a very safe pick, Jackson, Colston, not so much.

What shocks me is they will look D-Line but still seem to shy away from the O-Line. Which would you say needs more help? The rumors seem to point that it is all about Lovie and his defense and has little to do with the team as a whole. Yes the Giants Pass rush played great, but Eli, and the Giants receivers had a little something to do with winning that game.

You know after Marshall, and Jennings they can't afford Williams, but what's wrong with going after Abraham? Yeah he is older so was Reggie White, and 17 sacks 18 hits, and 38 pressures says he still gets it done and for a lot less than Williams.

Sean I know Mincey is a name being tossed around but wouldn't it be smart to clear some dead wait off the books and make a move for Williams. Hell I would be willing to cut Briggs to make room for Williams. Then go look for a guy in the draft to replace him. Will is not the hardest position to replace in the T2. You can find those guys and the defense needs to get younger.


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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on March 12, 2012 8:42 AM.

Vincent Jackson and Mario Williams avoid franchise tags was the previous entry in this blog.

Bears should consider former Vikings CB Cedric Griffin is the next entry in this blog.

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