The salary cap for the 2021 NFL season will officially be set at $182.5 million per team, according to releases from the league. It is about an eight percent decrease from last year’s figure, after steadily rising approximately 10 percent every year for almost the past decade. In the ongoing mess that is the COVID-19 pandemic, an overall cap drop has been anticipated for some time, though this final number is less severe than league officials had foreseen.
What this means for the Chicago Bears is simple. As they currently stand at around $190 million in a concrete cap number, or roughly $8 million over the cap, the Bears are not cap compliant. General manager Ryan Pace and company have until next week’s deadline — March 17 at 3 p.m. Central time — to get under the bar of $182.5 million for the new league year in 2021. Undoubtedly a tight press for a franchise still in the market for a top quarterback or really anyone capable of throwing the ball well.
Seeing as how an organization can only make so many cuts with so little room for dead salary cap finances, this means the Bears will have to be creative in respective contract restructures. Popular candidates for such restructures already proposed have been names like Kyle Fuller, Cody Whitehair, and Akiem Hicks, to name a few. Whatever plan of action the Bears do end up taking, finally having a known salary cap ceiling to work under should ideally facilitate a greater sense of urgency in the coming days.
A whirlwind of contract moves, cuts, and perhaps even major acquisitions is sure to follow at Halas Hall over the next week. In the words of a wise Hall of Famer: Get your popcorn ready.