The only Bears safety under contract for next season was the one who got a new contract first.
Eddie Jackson agreed to a four-year contract extension for $58.4 million according his agents at SportsTrust. It made him the highest paid safety in league history.
Jackson received $22 million in fully guaranteed money with the possibility for $33 million. His average is $14.6 million per year now.
Tennessee last year gave Kevin Byard a deal averaging $14.1 million for five years, a $70.5 million deal in total, according to Spotrac.com. Kansas City's Tyrann Mathieu and Washington's Landon Collins both have deals averaging $14 million.
Just before the season finale, the Bears reworked cornerback Kyle Fuller's contract to create an additional $6 million-plus in cap space to help make this extension possible.
It's also possible they could gain another $8 million against the cap by letting go of guard Kyle Long.
The Bears drafted Jackson in the fourth round in 2017 and he had two interceptions that season, then made the All-Pro and Pro Bowl teams in 2018 when he had six interceptions. He made the Pro Bowl again this year.
For his career, Jackson has 10 interceptions, five fumble recoveries and five touchdown returns. This past season Jackson had only two interceptions, both at the end to seal games, but throughout the year Jackson and defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano insisted teams were not throwing into his area of the field on purpose.
"There's gonna be years that you have seven, eight, nine (interceptions) and there’s gonna be years you have zero, one or two," Pagano said. "Sometimes you just don’t have the same opportunities and things like that."
The Bears still have another big decision to make at safety with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. He had signed a one-year contract for $3.25 million; a prove-it deal. Whether he did enough to warrant a big contract will be apparent in the coming days.
Also out of contract when the league calendar turns are backup safeties Deon Bush and DeAndre Houston-Carson.
Beyond the safety spot, the Bears have to decide how much or whether to make offers to Danny Trevathan, Nick Kwiatkoski and Nick Williams.