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6 Bears who could be cut or traded to save cap space

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The Chicago Bears will have some important decisions to make this offseason, including some potential cuts and trades to free up more salary cap space.

It’s a tall order for new general manager Ryan Poles, who will be looking to build the roster through the draft, free agency and with some talent currently under contract.

The Bears are in a fairly solid place in terms of cap space, where they have roughly $29 million in available cap space for 2022, according to OverTheCap. But there is still some cap space Poles can free up with some veterans that carry substantial cap hits in 2022.

Here are some cut and trade candidates for the Bears this offseason:

LB Danny Trevathan (cut)

AP Photo/Mark Zaleski

Years remaining on contract: 1

2022 cap hit if kept: $5.7 million

2022 dead money if cut: $8.9 million (pre-June 1); $2.4 million (post-June 1)

2022 cap savings if cut: $3.2 million (pre-June 1); $3.3 million (post-June 1)

It’s clear at this point that former GM Ryan Pace made the wrong decision in extending Trevathan over Nick Kwiatkoski. While Trevathan was a solid free-agent pickup for Pace, Trevathan hasn’t been able to stay healthy and carries a hefty cap hit. At this point, it feels like Trevathan is an obvious cap casualty. The Bears would likely designate Trevathan as a post-June 1 cut, which would only cost then $2.4 million in dead money compared to $8.9 million.

Prediction: Trevathan gets cut

NT Eddie Goldman (cut)

Kena Krutsinger-USA TODAY Sports

Years remaining on contract: 2

2022 cap hit if kept: $11.8 million

2022 dead money if cut: $5.15 million (pre-June 1); $3 million (post-June 1)

2022 cap savings if cut: $6.6 million (pre-June 1); $8.8 million (post-June 1)

Goldman was one of the NFL’s most underrated players for years, but he just wasn’t the same player last season. Goldman opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID concerns, and he put together his worst season in his 2021 return. Goldman is still a solid nose tackle, but his play isn’t up to par with his $11.8 million cap hit. The Bears could choose to part ways with Goldman post-June 1, which would free up $8.8 million in cap space and only cost $3 million in dead cap.

Prediction: Goldman gets cut

RB Tarik Cohen (cut)

AP Photo/Jose Juarez

Years remaining on contract: 2

2022 cap hit if kept: $5.75 million

2022 dead money if cut: $3.5 million (pre-June 1); $1.75 million (post-June 1)

2022 cap savings if cut: $2.3 million (pre-June 1); $4 million (post-June 1)

Cohen was one of Pace’s late-round steals during his tenure, but the running back position has changed a lot since Cohen tore his ACL back in Sept. 2020. David Montgomery has established himself as the starter with Khalil Herbert solid depth and able to step into the starter role, if needed. Poles could decide to move on from Cohen, which would free up $4 million in cap space post-June 1. While Cohen is a dynamic playmaker, there are questions about his health. He didn’t play a down in 2021, and it’s been a year and a half since his injury.

Prediction: Cohen stays

QB Nick Foles (cut)

Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Years remaining on contract: 1

2022 cap hit if kept: $10.67 million

2022 dead money if cut (pre June 1): $7.67 million (pre-June 1); $7.67 million (post-June 1)

2022 cap savings if cut (pre June 1): $3 million (pre-June 1); $3 million (post-June 1)

The Bears have been trying to get rid of Foles since last offseason, which has everything to do with his contract and the fact that he was the third-string QB last season. Foles is slated to have a $10.67 cap hit in 2022, and the dead money involved in cutting him isn’t pretty. But with Dalton hitting free agency, the best course of action for the Bears would be to keep Foles on as the backup to Justin Fields. Especially given it doesn’t make sense to cut him, and they’ve had difficulties finding any trade partners.

Prediction: Foles stays

DE Robert Quinn (trade)

AP Photo/Duane Burleson

Years remaining on contract: 3

2022 cap hit if kept: $17.1 million

2022 dead money if traded: $12.7 million (pre-June 1); $4.2 million (post-June 1)

2022 cap savings if traded: $4.4 million (pre-June 1); $12.9 million (post-June 1)

With Quinn coming off one of his best seasons as a pro, his trade value is at its absolute highest right now. Quinn will have a $17.1 million cap hit in 2022, which is second only to Khalil Mack. The Bears could save $12.9 million in cap space with a post-June 1 trade. While it’s certainly an option to deal Quinn, it’s hard to imagine the Bears moving on from their best defensive player last season. Especially with a new defensive-minded head coach in Matt Eberflus leading the team.

Prediction: Quinn stays

S Eddie Jackson (trade)

USA Today Sports

Years remaining on contract: 3

2022 cap hit if kept: $15.09 million

2022 dead money if traded: $13.6 million (pre-June 1); $4 million (post-June 1)

2022 cap savings if traded: $1.5 million (pre-June 1); $11.1 million (post-June 1)

Jackson hasn’t lived up to his mega contract extension that once made him the highest-paid safety in the NFL. It certainly doesn’t help that Jackson is slated to have a $15.09 million cap hit in 2022, which is among the highest on the roster. The Bears could explore potential trade partners, but Jackson’s contract doesn’t make it appealing, although it would free up $11.1 million in cap space after June 1. Still, the likeliest scenario remains Jackson staying in Chicago, where his new defensive coordinator Alan Williams just happens to specialize in developing defensive backs.

Prediction: Jackson stays

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