Earlier toady we talked about free agent to be Alshon Jeffery and the options the Chicago Bears have moving forward. Jeffery is just one of 29 players that are currently playing out the final year of their deals. Granted, some of these players may not even make it to the final 53 man roster for the 2015 season, but this list could give us an idea of what the Bears will be looking to do before the 2016 season.
Contract data pulled from Spotrac
|PLAYER||POS.||AGE||2015 CAP HIT||STATUS|
There are three types of free agents listed. Unrestricted free agents (UFA) are players that are free to sign with any other team once their deal expires. Restricted free agents (RFA) are players with three accrued seasons in the NFL and may be subject to a qualifying offer, which would give the current team the right to first refusal if he signs an offer sheet.
Exclusive rights free agents (ERFA) are players with less than three years accrued in the NFL. The player has no negotiation power and can only accept a new contract with the current team. These are usually undrafted free agents that end up making the league minimum.
The big number coming off the books is Matt Forte's, and the odds of his getting another deal close to $9 million annually are slim to none, with "none" clearly in the lead. He'll be 30 when he's looking for a new contract and teams just don't hand out fat contracts to running backs that age.
But that's not to say no team will want Forte if he plays at a high level in 2015. He's always been a player that kept himself in great shape and he's also been relatively healthy during his career.
The Bears have other options after the 2015 season to shave salary. Jared Allen has no more guaranteed money due after this year so releasing him would save $8.5 million. If Antrel Rolle doesn't work out he could be cut to save $3 million. There are a few other veterans around 30 years old that the Bears could spring to save money if their performance slips.
The NFL salary cap for the 2015 season is a touch over $143 million and experts predict the 2016 cap could hit $160 million. The Bears should have plenty of cap space available moving forward.