I will be doing a series of articles that will be taking a methodical team by team approach to next year’s possible free agents. I will be starting with the team that has the least amount of salary cap space and ending with the team with the most. I will try to give a brief description of as many of the possible free agents as I can. I will also be looking for players that might be salary cap cuts in order for their teams to make room to sign some of these possible free agents. Any information anyone else can contribute on these players would be very much appreciated.
The Chicago Bears Bears are projected to be $58,060,604 UNDER the cap (all salary info via Over The Cap) for 2017 and with 53 players under contract. As of January 1, 2017, OTC has combined the leftover cap space from 2016 with each team’s projected cap space for 2017.
Dollar figures listed are player’s 2016 cap hits.
WR Alshon Jeffery - $11,163,041
Alshon Jeffery is 26 years old and was drafted by the Bears in the second round of the 2012 draft. Jeffery was franchised tagged in 2016. On November 14, the NFL suspended Jeffery for four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy which is also the reason for the discrepancy in pay. He had 52 receptions for 821 yards and 2 touchdowns even with having missed 4 games.
QB Brian Hoyer - $2,000,000
Brian Hoyer is 31 years old and was originally picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Patriots in 2009. Hoyer was signed up by the Bears in April of 2016 after being released by the Texans. He is most known for his time in Cleveland. Hoyer completed 134 of 200 attempts (67%) for 1,199 yards and 6 touchdowns with no interceptions while starting 5 games for the Bears in 2016. He was sacked 18 times and fumbled once.
LG Ted Larsen - $1,612,500
Ted Larsen is 29 years old and was originally drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2010 draft. Larsen signed a one year contract with the Bears in March of 2016. PFF has Larsen rated as the 45th best guard in the NFL this season with only 581 total snaps.
CB Johnthan Banks - $199,882
Johnthan Banks is 27 years old and was originally drafted by the Bucs in the second round of the 2013 draft. Banks was traded to the Lions by the Bucs on November 1, 2016 only to be released on the third of December. The Bears then signed him on December 5. He had 6 tackles while playing for 3 different teams in 2016.
RT Matt McCants - $119,118
Matt McCants is 27 years old and was originally drafted by the Giants in the sixth round of the 2012 draft. McCants was signed by the Bears in December after being released by both the Raiders and the Browns earlier in the month.
K Connor Barth - $600,000
Connor Barth is 30 years old and was originally picked up by the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2008. Barth seems like a decent kicker in spite of his bouncing around the league like a four square ball.
34OLB Sam Acho - $680,000
Sam Acho is 28 years old and was originally drafted by the Cardinals in the fourth round of the 2011 draft. Acho was signed by the Bears in April of 2015. In spite of having 7 sacks with the Cardinals as a rookie, Acho has never become much of a sack meister. He had 27 tackles, 1 sack, and one forced fumble in 2016.
WR Deonte Thompson - $680,000
Deonte Thompson is 27 years old and was originally picked up by the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2012. Thompson signed with the Bears in September of 2015. He had 22 receptions for 249 yards and 2 touchdowns on 2016.
CB Brandon Boykin - $363,000
Brandon Boykin is 26 years old and was originally drafted by the Eagles in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. Boykin was signed by the Bears in July and placed on injured reserve in August after suffering a pectoral injury. He had 25 tackles, 1 sack, and 5 passes defended for the Steelers in 2015.
TE Logan Paulsen - $600,000
Logan Paulson is 29 years old and was originally picked up by Washington as an undrafted free agent in 2010. The Bears signed Paulsen in September after he was released by Washington. He started 12 games in 2016 and had 3 receptions for 15 yards. Paulsen had 28 receptions for 267 yards while with Washington in 2013.
RT Mike Adams - $600,000 `
Mike Adams is 26 years old and was originally drafted by the Steelers in the second round of the 2012 draft. Adams was signed by the Bears last August after being released a month earlier by the Steelers. He went on injured reserve in December with back problems. He has been mostly ineffective throughout his career and has had reoccurring back problems the past couple of years.
CB Brandon Boykins - $363,000
Brandon Boykins is 26 years old and was originally drafted by the Eagles in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. Boykins was signed by the Bears in July after being cut by the Panthers. His best year was in 2013 when he had 47 tackles, 16 passes defended, 6 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles. He has basically gone downhill from there. He was placed on injured reserve in August with a pectoral injury.
34DT CJ Wilson - $247,059
CJ Wilson is 29 years old and was originally drafted by the Packers in the seventh round of the 2010 draft. Wilson was originally signed by the Bears in September but has been released and re-signed numerous times since.
RT Nick Becton - $675,000
Nick Becton is 26 years old and was originally picked up by the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2013. Becton was signed by the Bears and placed on their practice squad in September of 2015. He spent the 2016 season on injured reserve.
RG Eric Cush - $675,000
Eric Kush is 27 years old and was originally drafted by the Chiefs in the sixth round of the 2013 draft. The Bears claimed Kush off of waivers in September of 2016. He played in 8 games at the center position in 2016 and started 4. PFF gave him a 69.6 grade. In comparison, Kilgore had a 72.8 grade and Marcus Martin had a 39.1.
34DE Cornelius Washington - $700,947
Cornelius Washington is 27 years old and was drafted by the Bears in the sixth round of the 2013 draft. Washington played in 15 games in 2016 and started 2. He had 10 tackles and 2 sacks with 1 pass defended. I don’t know what happened to him? He came out of Georgia as a quick 6’4” OLB that weighed 265 pounds and had 34 inch arms and he turned into a 295 pound defensive lineman. That kind of sounds similar to Tank Carradine.
WR Marquess Wilson - $1,682,787
Marques Washington is 24 years old and was drafted by the Bears in the 2013 draft. Wilson has spent most of his time since December of 2015 on the PUP and IR lists with foot problems but still managed to have 9 receptions for 160 yards and 1 touchdown over a 3 game stretch in 2016. He had 28 receptions for 464 yards in 2015 before being injured. He has great straight line speed (4.33) and good height at 6’3” but has a pretty light build.