5 Bears that could be on the chopping block this offseason

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Alyssa Barbieri
·4 min read
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The Chicago Bears have plenty of needs to address this offseason. Although, outside of the 2021 NFL Draft, it’s going to be difficult given their limited salary cap space. With the salary cap expected to decrease by roughly $18 million, they’re currently around $2 million over the salary cap for 2021, according to Over The Cap.

There are players the Bears could part ways with this offseason to free up a good chunk of salary cap space, which would allow Pace to help navigate a very difficult salary cap situation ahead of free agency.

Here are five players that could be on the chopping block this offseason.

TE Jimmy Graham

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Chicago had a resurgence at the tight end position last season due to the performances of veteran Jimmy Graham and rookie Cole Kmet, who breathed life into a unit that was previously among the worst in the NFL. Graham himself had eight touchdowns, surpassing his two-year total in Green Bay in just one season. While the Graham signing was originally met with criticism, he ended up being a valuable threat in the red zone on offense for the Bears. But even despite his performance, he's a prime candidate to be a cap casualty given his cap hit of $10 million in 2021. Considering Chicago is currently $2 million over the cap factoring in the estimated $180 million salary cap floor, keeping Graham doesn't make a lot of sense financially.

RT Bobby Massie

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

When it comes to the offensive line, there is certainly reason to be optimistic given the interior linemen. But the issue remains the tackles, including right tackle Bobby Massie, who missed half of the season with a knee injury. Before that, he wasn't impressing or living up to his contract extension, which should make this decision an easy one. Massie is projected to have a cap hit of $9.3 million next season, and the Bears can save $5.4 million by parting ways with him. Germain Ifedi, who was originally signed to a one-year deal, took over for Massie at right tackle, and he'd be a much more affordable veteran option. Or Chicago will likely target a rookie to replace Massie or his partner on the other side.

LT Charles Leno Jr.

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

The issues on the offensive line remain one of the biggest issues on this Bears team. Speaking of concerns at tackle, Charles Leno hasn't exactly lived up to his contract. Leno has been one of the most penalized players in the league, along with teammate Ifedi, and he's notably regressed since 2018. Considering the massive four-year, $37 million extension he signed back in 2017, Leno has been a disappointment. Leno is projected to have a cap hit of $11.3 million in 2021, and the Bears could save $6.2 million by cutting him. But, when it comes down to it, left tackles are hard to come by in this league, which is what might save Leno for another season.

CB Buster Skrine

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

While the Bears appear set with their starting quarterback duo of Kyle Fuller and Jaylon Johnson, they could be looking for a new slot cornerback this offseason. Buster Skrine has served as Chicago's nickel back for the last two seasons, including an injury-shortened 2020 campaign, but his time might've already run out even with one year left on his deal. Skrine is slated to have a cap hit of roughly $6 million, which is the 13th highest on the Bears' roster. Chicago could save $2.7 million by parting ways with him. Something they might feel a whole lot more comfortable with. The Bears got a good look at Duke Shelley in the slot during Skrine's absence in the final month of the season, and he would certainly be a cheaper option than Skrine.

WR Anthony Miller

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

What started as a promising rookie season hasn't gone as planned for receiver Anthony Miller. Miller has flashed potential, but he hasn't been able to capitalize on it. Following a strong end to the 2019 season, many believed Year 3 would be the year when Miller took that step forward. Instead, he lost his No. 2 spot to fifth-round rookie Darnell Mooney, who outplayed the former second-round veteran. But it's Miller's struggles from a maturity standpoint that might spell his end in Chicago. In the Bears' wild-card playoff loss, Miller took a swing at Saints safety CJ Gardner-Johnson, which cost his team 15 yards and got him suspended in a game where they were already down Mooney. Considering Miller was warned about the situation -- and saw it happen to his teammate Javon Wims earlier that season -- it wasn't a good look. The Bears can save $1.2 million by cutting Miller.

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