Prior to this past Monday's deadline, the Chicago Bears placed the franchise tag on defensive tackle Henry Melton, guaranteeing him $8.45 million this season if they are not able to get a long-term deal done.
At this time, that franchise tag takes up the majority of the Bears' cap space, leaving them right now with roughly $4.5 million under the salary cap.
It is expected that the team will likely make some cuts to free up some cap space as well as try to restructure some of their larger contracts to give themselves more flexibility moving forward.
On March 12th, the NFL's new league year begins and teams will officially be able to sign free agents. The Bears, despite going 10-6 last season, have plenty of holes that will need to fixed, and free agency may be their best way of improving this offseason..
New head coach Marc Trestman will work closely with second-year general manager Phil Emery to find the perfect pieces for their new offense and aging defense.
Here are five projected free-agent targets for the Bears this offseason: