Bears salary cap space update after D.J. Moore trade

Bears still lead NFL in cap space after D.J. Moore trade originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

When Ryan Poles traded away the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft to the Panthers in exchange for the No. 9 pick, No. 61 pick a couple of future picks and D.J. Moore, he drastically altered the Bears' landscape. Obviously things will be different when the Bears are finally on the clock in the draft, but things will also be different when free agency opens on Wednesday.

With Moore in the fold, the Bears probably feel pretty good about their wide receiver room. Moore, Chase Claypool and Darnell Mooney are a well-rounded group of players who bring different skillsets to the field. Accordingly, it feels unlikely that Poles adds another wide receiver, like JuJu Smith-Schuster or D.J. Chark, when free agency opens on Wednesday. Since the Bears inherit Moore’s contract, they also have less projected cap space than they did last week.

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Per Spotrac, the Bears had ~$100 million before making the trade to acquire Moore, and now they have just over $75 million. That seems like a big dropoff, but the Bears still have the most salary cap space in the NFL by a wide margin. The Falcons come in at second with nearly $64 million, per Spotrac. In fact, the Bears still have the wiggle room to sign one or two marquee free agents like Orlando Brown Jr. or Javon Hargrave if they want to put a lot of their money to work now.

At first glance, Moore’s contract may seem expensive ($20 million cap hit in 2023, $16 million in 2024 and 2025), but when you consider the rest of the wide receiver market, his contract looks like a deal. Amari Cooper is set to have a cap hit near $24 million over the next two years. Christian Kirk’s will be $23 million this year, Brandin Cooks’ will be $26 million and Kenny Golladay comes in at $21 million. Wide receiver deals are getting more and more expensive each year, and the Bears won’t have to worry about signing a lucrative deal for Moore until 2026.

NFL teams can begin negotiating with free agents on Monday, but can’t officially sign them to deals until Wednesday at 3 p.m. when the new league year begins.

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