Chicago Bears Would Be Wise to Front Load Free Agent Contracts

Steve PauleyContributor IMarch 5, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 25: Antrel Rolle #21 of the Arizona Cardinals intercepts a ball in front of Steve Smith #12 of the New York Giants during the fourth quarter on October 25, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Free agency is set to begin in a matter of hours, and all indications are that the Chicago Bears will look to make a splash with a big name, high-priced free agent.

Whether that player is Julius Peppers, Antrel Rolle, or someone else remains to be seen.

In any case, Chicago is going to have to pay top dollar to land one of the big prizes of free agency.

Here's a piece of advice—front load the contract.

Denver Post columnist Woody Paige raised the idea today on ESPN's Around The Horn. Since this is an uncapped year, teams can pay a player more guaranteed money up front with their salary significantly decreasing in the following years.

Even with the threat of a lockout in 2011, the NFL will play in 2012, and it will most likely be under a strict salary cap.

By paying out more guaranteed money now, Chicago can ensure that come 2012, it will not only be under the cap, it could also be a serious player in that season's free agency.

Paige introduced this idea in the context of restructuring current players' contracts rather than signing free agents. His comments didn't gain much traction with host Tony Reali, but this strategy is one that should be on the minds of every NFL owner, coach, and GM.

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