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Bears Get Below the Cap Again

The Bears will enter free agency with a bit of salary cap space to spare.

They have been working to save some cash under the cap with restructuring and have found a way to do it accoring to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

It had already been known they were working on converting big 2021 base salaries into signing bonuses for Eddie Jackson and guard Cody Whitehair and they also did it for linebacker Khalil Mack and are saving just over $23 million of cap space this way.

What happens is they take each players salary and convert it into bonus money, which is then paid to them immediately, but is applied against their salary cap over a course of as much as five years. They also normally give the player an additional restructuring bonus, although this generally is not very large.

Saving $23 million will put the Bears around $5 million under the cap and they might be able to sign another one or two of their own free agents this way.

Players like Tashaun Gipson, Germain Ifedi, Barkevious Mingo and Cordarrelle Patterson come to mind when this much money is available.

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There are other ways to regain cap space, including extensions for defensive end Akiem Hicks or for cornerback Kyle Fuller. Both of those players have big salaries not guaranteed for 2021.

Converting Mack's salary to bonus is a route they've taken before but it was possible to do again since he was being paid so much. There was already $2.6 million per year being counted against the Bears cap for his first restructuring bonus according to He was to receiver $17.046 million in salary this year.

Whitehair's salary was at $6.5 million and Jackson $8.95 million. Whitehair's had also be restructured once already.

What was unsaid about all of this is the effect on any possible trade. If the Bears were planning to trade Mack in a deal for Russell Wilson, then restructuring his salary so that he had more bonus money to count on a dead cap hit was a pretty strange way to do it.

Suffice to say, voluntarily taking on debt against their cap for Mack is not something they would do in such a situation.

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