As the team-by-team cap amounts for 2012 come into focus, one team that will have plenty to spend if it so chooses is the Bears.
Key phrase: “If it so chooses.”
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Bears have up to $28 million in cap space, when taking into account the amount that the Bears can carry over from 2011. But with new G.M. Phil Emery saying that the team plans to build through the draft, don’t count on a free-agency splurge.
And with the ability to continuously carry cap space over from year to year under the new CBA, there’s no reason to spend it all this year. Starting next year, of course, the per-team requirement to spend 89 percent of the unadjusted cap (without any carryover) will require teams to spend even if they don’t want to. For now, though, the Bears have no need to spend — and they also have no need to slash cap numbers.
But they still could. And why not consider doing so? If there are players whose contracts don’t reflect their value, the Bears could create some cap space that could be carried over into future years, and devoted to other players.
Biggs has the 2012 cap numbers for each player. And the team has some aging veterans who’ll present Emery with tough decisions. With plenty of cap space to acquire their replacements, now could be the time to make the tough decisions to move on from certain players.
UPDATE 11:23 a.m. ET: Since running back Matt Forte doesn’t have a contract for 2012, he doesn’t count against the 2012 cap. If the Bears use the franchise tag, roughly $7.7 million will be assigned to Forte.