Lost in all the excitement about the potential acquisitions the Chicago Bears can make in free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft is the ugly side of the business season. Some of Chicago’s fan favorites could be given their walking papers in an effort to free up salary-cap space for general manager Ryan Poles to swing big on desired free-agent targets. In fact, it isn’t a question of if this happens; instead, it's about who will get cut. There are a few obvious candidates and logical choices the Bears can set free and save big. The first is running back Tarik Cohen, who former GM Ryan Pace inexplicably signed to a three-year, $17.25 million deal in September 2020. It was a questionable contract at the time, considering the valuation of running backs and the limited role Cohen played in Chicago’s offense. And, unfortunately, Cohen’s barely suited up since the ink dried on his deal. Cohen tore his ACL in Week 3 of the 2020 season and hasn’t returned to the field since. His slow recovery already put his future in doubt, and now with a new general manager and coaching staff in place, it feels like a foregone conclusion that he’ll be whacked. The Bears can save nearly $4 million by moving on from him. This is a classic no-brainer. The Bears could decide that backup quarterback Nick Foles’ salary is too bloated to keep around, too. He’s in the final year of a three-year, $24 million deal and if he sticks around for 2022, he’ll account for nearly $10.7 million against the cap. Chicago can slash $3 million from its books by cutting him, but it’ll be a bit of a risky decision. Letting go of Foles means the Bears have to add a backup quarterback. Sure, they should be able to find a veteran who’d still represent a net saving compared to the cost of keeping Foles around, but it may not be enough to justify the move. Regardless, Foles is certainly on the shortlist. And what about nose tackle Eddie Goldman? At one time, Goldman was considered one of the best young defensive linemen in the game. His decision to opt-out of the 2020 season made him a sort of out-of-sight-out-of-mind type of player, and his return to action in 2021 wasn’t up to the standard we’ve become accustomed to seeing from him. Most important is the amount of money the Bears will save if they cut him (as a post-June 1 guy): nearly $9 million. That’s a lot of scratch, and with how Goldman’s play declined last year, it’s a move that Poles has almost no choice but to make. Goldman was the Bears’ third-lowest-graded player on defense last season, according to Pro Football Focus. His 39.8 grade was, in a word, terrible. And it was by far the worst score of his career—not an ideal season for a player that’s entering a critical offseason in his tenure with Chicago. As much as fans may not like it, Goldman’s gotta go. Math is hard, but this math makes a ton of sense. The Bears can save almost $16 million by cutting Cohen, Foles, and Goldman. And while the loss of Foles and Goldman will create some roster holes that need attention, the savings simply makes too much salary-cap sense.
- Aug 16, 2022
- Aug 16, 2022