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Bears Start League Year Under the Cap

Restructurings help save the day as Khalil Mack goes from $17.046 million salary to $1,075 salary million with a wave of the magic calculator and a bonus payment.

The Bears made it in under the salary cap at the deadline on Wednesday when free agency officially started.

The first apparent signs came when they were able to sign safety Deon Bush to his second straight one-year contract, and when no Bears players appeared on the final league transaction notice for the 2020 calendar.

It seemed hairy when reports cropped up about Kyle Fuller possibly being cut so they could get in under the cap but this situation never materialized. A fan base already traumatized by their quarterback signing was spared further agony.

The new league season began with Bush in the fold for his sixth Bears season. He played last year for $1.4 million and had his first career interception but was largely used on special teams after losing the battle for starting safety in training camp to Tashaun Gipson.

The fact the Bears were able to avoid cutting anyone spoke to their ability to maneuver the cap with contracts man Joey Laine and GM Ryan Pace. Laine almost needed to be wearing a hard hat he had so much restructuring going on over the last week.

The Bears brought back $23 million plus in three initial restructurings for Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson and Cody Whitehair.

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Their 2021 cap hits now look quite different than before. released the details of the restructuring and it spoke for how salaries are actually investments.

Khalil Mack went from a base salary of $17.046 million in 2021 to $1.075 million. But shed no tears for Mack because he made back the difference between those figure, almost $16 million, in a bonus check. All the bonus money was then prorated against the Bears cap and applied each year through 2025.

Mack had already agreed to a restructuring and received a bonus two years ago, so now he has $5.794 million in restructuring bonus cahs applied against the cap.

Jackson and Whitehair both dropped down in salary to $990,000. Jackson had been slated for a salary of $8.95 million and Whitehair $6.5 million. So they received the difference immediately and the amount was prorated in the form of a restructuring bonus over the next five years.

In Whitehair's case, he has $1.92 million against the cap in restructuring bonus for four years and then a dummy year in 2025 for $1.102 million. He had already agree to one restructuring and bonus, like Mack. Jackson's restructured bonus total each year for five years will be $1.592 million.

The other restructurings will be known at a later date.

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