The NFL’s salary cap is expected to increase in a big way for the 2022 season, which is certainly good news for the Chicago Bears.
After the salary cap decreased from $198.2 million in 2020 to $182.5 million in 2021 due to the COVID-19 impact, the cap is expected to rise exponentially.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero, the salary cap for the 2022 season is expected to hit $208.2 million, which is a roughly $26 million increase.
So how does this expected increased salary cap impact the Bears in 2022?
According to Over the Cap, the Bears are expected to have roughly $44 million in camp space, which is the 11th most in the NFL. But that’s also with just 26 players under contract for the 2022 season.
There are a handful of players who could be in line for contract extensions, including linebacker Roquan Smith, defensive tackle Bilal Nichols and offensive lineman James Daniels.
Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks expressed his desire to remain with the Bears back in training camp, but we’ll see if Chicago is willing to bring him back on a team-friendly deal. Receiver Allen Robinson is expected to hit free agency, which will leave the Bears in need of receivers around Darnell Mooney.
There’s also the matter of Chicago’s dead money situation, where they’re projected to be $3.2 million in 2022, according to Spotrac. Although, that’s before some potential offseason moves that include parting ways with linebacker Danny Trevathan, which would free up $2.9 million in cap space but would include $8.9 million in dead money.
Quarterback Nick Foles is still under contract in 2022, where releasing him would free up $3 million in cap space with a dead money hit of $7.6 million. That alone would combine for an additional $16.5 million in dead cap.
There’s also the question of whether general manager Ryan Pace will be the one calling the shots in 2022, as head coach Matt Nagy appears on his way out and Pace could follow.