Being a winning team in the NFL comes with some burdens, but it also can have its perks. The Chicago Bears weren’t exactly considered a prime destination for free agents the past few years. Sure they had lots of money to spend, but they also had a reputation for not being a good team. So they’d only attract players considered mostly second-tier talents. Then they’d have to hope those players could ascend to play like stars.
They got some fortunate bounces of late with guys like Akiem Hicks and Danny Trevathan. Still, it feels like they’ve missed out on some big opportunities because most of the big-name players didn’t want to join Chicago due to its losing reputation. So what might happen when that’s no longer an issue?
The Bears just finished a 12-4 season and came a missed field goal away from knocking off the defending Super Bowl champions in their first playoff game in eight years. They have the best defense in football and a head coach in Matt Nagy who has a rising reputation around the league for his ability to connect with players.
Could this make them a prime destination in free agency?
Prince Amukamara believes Chicago Bears will be a hot spot
At least one person thinks so. Prince Amukamara, who signed a new three-year contract this past offseason seems convinced that Chicago will now be a place that players want to play. Everything from the winning atmosphere to Club Dub and beyond makes it the sort of place to be as he told Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic.
“I would say a lot of free agents, I would say that they’re going to be looking at Chicago for a spot to come just because we’re winning and we feel like we’re doing it the right way,” he said. “We’re having fun. Someone might come in here and never played offense and next thing you know they’re getting the ball thrown to them and they’re doing a dance in the end zone. I would say all that, that flair, that swag, that fun, the excitement, I’m sure it’s enticing to a lot of people out there.”
He’s got a point.
The question now isn’t whether the Bears can convince free agents they have a good situation. It’s whether they can find the money to lure in a big one. According to overthecap.com, Chicago will have just over $19 million in salary cap space to work with at the start of the new league year. That may sound like a decent chunk, but it’s not.
They will have to use a lot of it to deal with some of their own pending free agents including starters Adrian Amos, Bryce Callahan, and Bobby Massie. If all three are brought back, that will likely decrease their amount of wiggle room to make a bold move. Saying that, there are a few ways they could add extra breathing space.
Two players who may likely no longer have a future with the team due to injury and age concerns are Dion Sims and Sam Acho. If the Bears were to cut both of them, it would net an additional $8 million in cap space, giving them over $27 million total. That could give them just enough ammunition to make a big move if they so desired.