The general consensus among Windy City Gridiron readers and most Bears fans is that Cedric Benson should be cut for his humiliations both on and off the field. However, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times points out, sending Benson on the next boat out of Chicago would result in a harsh cap hit for the team.
Benson’s salary-cap figure for 2008 is $3.335 million and if the Bears cut him before June 1 and do not exercise an option to spread the dead money over two seasons, the hit for this year would be roughly $6 million. That would be cutting a sizeable slice into the pie that’s meant to go to Tommie Harris, Devin Hester, Robbie Gould and others in the form of longterm extensions.
If the Bears did a post-June 1 cut, or cut him now and had the money go on the books as a post-June 1 cut, they would still be on the books for more than $2.5 million this season when subtracting out his base pay of $820,000 for 2008.
Biggs goes on to say that even if the Bears release Benson based on his injuries, he would likely file a grievance and win, resulting in effectively paying Benson his salary without him even being on the team.
Like Biggs says, we need all the cap space we can get to lock up Harris and Hester to long-term deals, and Benson's cap hit would definitely complicate things and cause a financial ripple effect that could have a negative impact on signing other players. So although he'll probably get extremely limited playing time in 2008, we may be stuck with him.