Bears 2013 Salary Situation: Breaking Down Chicago's Current Cap Status

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2013

Bears 2013 Salary Situation: Breaking Down Chicago's Current Cap Status

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    The Bears are up tight against the salary cap, carrying $118 million in cap money versus a $123 million cap.

    With so little money to be used, I'm fascinated to see what the financials for their Tuesday signings look like.

    As they have yet to fully emerge, all we can do is guess that—as always—if a team wants something, they find a way.

Henry Melton Signs Tender

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    Defensive tackle Henry Melton finally signed his franchise tender this week, and is now under a one year, $8.45 million contract.

    It's possible that the Bears will try to work out a long-term contract this season while Melton plays out this single year. They were certainly not about to allow one of their breakout stars to get away easily.

    By the same token, if they can get a longer deal done, they might be able to get rid of some of the cap hit that this contract represents.

    The $8.45 is included in the cap figure we discussed on the first page.

Bears Sign TE Martellus Bennett to a Four Year Deal

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    Bennett just signed a four year deal with the Chicago Bears, but financial details have yet to be released.

    As soon as they are, I'll be back with more specific details.

    Working off the cap figures we have, I would imagine someone will get cut or someone will be restructuring. Otherwise there will have to be some very creative book-keeping in order to make the numbers work.

    Again though—and this is a theme for the Bears today—if a team wants the numbers to work, they will.

Tackle Jermon Bushrod Signs Five Year, $35.9 Million Contract

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    Tuesday saw the Bears sign former New Orleans Saints left tackle Jermon Bushrod to a huge contract, five years for $35.965 million with $17.715 guaranteed, according to Sean Jensen of the Sun-Times.

    That comes to about $7.1 million per year. Considering that, according to Spotrac, the Bears are just a few million under the cap, I can't exactly puzzle out how this will work.

    More than likely, the cap hit is back-loaded, but until we see further details, it's hard to say.

Bears Cut TE Kellen Davis

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    I'm almost surprised it took this long, but the Bears have released superfluous tight end Kellen Davis, according to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio. I say superfluous in part because the team signed Martellus Bennett aka "The Black Unicorn" but also in part because he was totally useless for the team in 2012.

    According to Florio,this will save about $2.5 million in cap space, which brings the total cap room to about $8 million.

    The Tribune's Brad Biggs says Davis was set to earn $2.4 million with $100,000 workout bonus this year.

    Of course there is a long way to go before the Bears balance the budget, but as a reader reminded me today, they do have until the summer to do so.

    So expect more cuts and more wrangling over the next few days.

Bears Sign DT Nate Collins to Veteran Minimum

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    ESPN Chicago's Jeff Dickerson is reporting that the Bears have re-signed defensive tackle Nate Collins to a one year deal worth $715,000 dollars.

    This is an 'upside move' since Collins did almost nothing last season, aside from being suspended one game for violating substance abuse policy and then was inactive for half the season.

    According to Dickerson, Collins knew defensive coordinator Mel Tucker from when they were in Jacksonville back in 2010/2011.

    This is a minimum cap hit, for minimum risk.

Final Salary Cap Thoughts as of 3/19

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    After a full week of free agency, the Chicago Bears have slowed their roll. They don't have much of a choice, since according to the Sun-Times' Sean Jensen, they've got just $5.4 million dollars in cap room remaining.

    Adding Micheal Bennett and Jermon Bushrod took up a ton of cap space, while addressing to big needs as well.

    The big question remaining is, do they retain Brian Urlacher and if so, for how much? I can't imagine them keeping him for more than another year—maybe two—and that means that a significant portion of the cap hit has to happen this year.

    Considering they have to sign their rookies as well, including a first rounder, there's not much wiggle room at present.

    The Bears still have some holes to fill, but it looks very much like those holes will have to wait until the NFL Draft.


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