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Here's where the Chicago Bears' salary cap stands after re-signing Jaylon Johnson

Here's where the Chicago Bears' salary cap stands after re-signing Jaylon Johnson originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Bears locked up their franchise corner on Thursday, signing Jaylon Johnson to a four-year deal worth $76 million with $54 million of that contract guaranteed.

The Bears have now locked up three major facets of their defense, signing Montez Sweat at the trade deadline to a deal worth $98 million, Tremaine Edmunds to a deal worth $72 million last summer, and now Johnson. Along with DJ Moore's $60 million contract, too, the Bears are spending a lot of money.

Where does the Bears salary cap stand now after Johnson's signing? First, let's quickly look at how Johnson's four-year deal is structured, according to metrics from Spotrac.

Year

Cap Hit

Yearly Cash

1

$13.4 million

$28.4 million

2

$21.4 million

$16.4 million

3

$20.6 million

$15.5 million

4

$20.6 million

$15.5 million

MORE: Bears' Jaylon Johnson contract extension massive win on multiple fronts

Johnson's contract is frontloaded in yearly cash, but backloaded in cap hits, giving the Bears financial flexibility this offseason to chase blue-chip players on the free market. As it stands, the Bears have the fifth-most cap space in the NFL, owning $57.5 million in cap space, according to Spotrac.

General manager Ryan Poles did some gymnastics with Johnson's contract. He converted $20 million of the contract into signing bonuses, all of which are spread out over $5 million annually. Johnson will earn a base salary of just under $8 million in his first year. His first-year dead cap value is around $43 million.

This contract is a win-win for the Bears and Johnson. For the Bears, they lock up their homegrown, All-Pro corner, while giving themselves flexibility to keep spending in free agency. For Johnson, he gets the long-term deal he's been looking for while earning top guaranteed money at his position.

The Bears' moves to cut Eddie Jackson and Cody Whitehair earlier this offseason turned out to be major cap-saving moves for this offseason. By releasing both the longtime-veterans, the Bears opened up $21.7 million in cap space.

Johnson was one of the most significant boxes the front office had to check this offseason. They were adamant about his return from the start. Earlier this week, the Bears placed the franchise tag on him. And 48 hours later, they found common ground on a deal, clearing $6.8 million in cap space from the tag.

Now, the Bears are faced with figuring out the quarterback situation. Are they ready to move on from Justin Fields and provide themselves even more cap space by drafting a rookie quarterback? Or, are they willing to pay Fields, who is eligible for his fifth-year option?

However that situation unfolds, the Bears will have chances for major upgrades in free agency. They could take a swing at one of Christian Wilkins or Danielle Hunter. What about Saquon Barkley or Josh Jacobs? Seeing how the Bears divvy up their targets in free agency versus the draft will be interesting.

Stay tuned for an offseason that's just getting started for the Bears.

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