If Devin Hester is “competing” to be the primary return man for the Bears, there’s a chance he’ll lose the competition.
Which means there’s a chance he’ll lose his job.
If the Bears decide to make a change, it would be simple to accomplish for a cap standpoint. Hester is in the final year of his contract, at a base salary of $1.857 million. With or without him on the roster, the Bears will carry a bonus proration of $833,335, according to a source with knowledge of the terms of the deal. He also has earned a workout bonus of $250,000 (assuming he participated in the requisite number of offseason sessions).
As a result, trading Hester or cutting him would clear his $1.857 million from the Bears’ books, with no further acceleration or charge beyond the $1.083 million in bonuses that already apply.
Presumably, the Bears would prefer to trade Hester, if they choose not to keep him. By trading him, the Bears can control where he lands. Or, more accurately, where he doesn’t land. After giving the other teams in the NFC North fits since 2006, one of them surely would be interested in giving Hester a chance, twice this year, to stick it to the Bears.