I was looking at the Bears cap numbers the other day and we look to be in pretty good shape for now. We have about $5mm to spare as far as cap space goes, and I have a feeling that will go up as camp moves along.
I was reminded of a couple of things as I was looking at the cap numbers.
1) There is an upper class of athletes in the NFL and a crapload of guys scrambling to get a contract. The middle class is almost non existent.
2) Nothing happens in a vacuum as far as the cap is concerned.
I will speak on point one first. As of today, the top ten guys on the Bears take up 54% of the available cap money. They are, in order:
Cutler, Marshall, Forte, Bushrod, Briggs, Bennett, Jennings, Houston, Tillman, and Allen. On that list, I imagine we won’t be seeing Forte, Briggs, and Tillman around for too much longer. So, the whole rest of the team is scrambling for the other 46% of the cap dollars. This is indicative of the NFL in general. I ran the numbers for a few other teams as far as what percentage of their cap dollars are taken up by the top ten players.
Bengals – 50.6%, Falcons – 47.4%, Ravens – 60.5%
The Ravens have a ton of high cap number players that aren’t really worth squat, but that is the penalty, if you want to call it that, for winning a Super Bowl. The Bears seem to be in the middle of the pack as regards this top ten number. It doesn’t change or really mean too much, but it is something to think about once in a while when you are hearing about the upcoming cuts and moves to the practice squad.
Point two is a real beauty. Brandon Manumaleuna just got an injury settlement out of the Bears for $250k and that will go on the books against the cap. This guy was Mike Martz’s bright idea and in 2010 Manumaleuna signed a five year deal and then got cut in 2011 after doing NOTHING. It is important to understand that it takes several years to unwind these terrible contract decisions that were made under Angelo and the previous coaching staff.