Following an 8-8 season, general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy have their work cut out to improve the roster with limited cap space and just five picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Here are three Bears veterans that could be cap casualties this offseason.
3. Bobby Massie, RT
Bobby Massie signed a four-year contract with the Bears two years ago. Unfortunately, the 32-year-old tackle has missed 14 games the past two seasons, including the second half of 2020 when he landed on IR due to a knee injury. His overall Pro Football Focus grade of 72.6 was adequate in 2020 prior to the injury. But the Bears can create an additional $8 million in much-needed cap space by cutting Massie after June 1, which seems likely.
2. Charles Leno Jr., LT
With a base salary of nearly $9 million in 2021, Charles Leno is an eight-year-veteran that could be another post-June 1 cut. That would save the Bears nearly $9 million in cap space, or more than $5 million if cut prior to June 1, according to Over the Cap. Leno has had just one season with an overall PFF grade below 70. He's not a top performer, but he's been the Bears' most reliable offensive lineman the past few years. Watch what the Bears do in the NFL Draft, which is deep with offensive tackles. If Chicago selects an offensive tackle, then Leno is most likely a cap casualty.
1. Akiem Hicks, DT
Akiem Hicks is a monster of a man in the middle of the Bears' defensive line. The Bears rewarded the building block of their defense after only year in Chicago with a four-year, $48 million contract extension in 2017. He missed most of 2019 with an elbow injury, and last year had a career-low overall PFF grade of 66.0 as he battled hamstring and ankle injuries. Hicks' performance the past two seasons has been sub-par, as he had the two lowest tackling grades of his career from Pro Football Focus. Depth behind Hicks is a major concern, and Chicago's management team has a difficult decision regarding the defensive tackle. The money matters, though, and the business of football likely win out again with Hicks getting cut.
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