Jimmy Graham’s contract restructure and the implications on Bears’ 2022 salary cap

By Alyssa Barbieri

The Chicago Bears restructured tight end Jimmy Graham’s contract, converting $5.825 million into a signing bonus and creating $4.66 million in cap space with the addition of four void years.

Graham, who’s in the final year of his two-year contract, will now be on the books for Chicago in 2022. Apparently, the Bears value Graham — now the backup tight end to Cole Kmet — that much to ensure he’s on the roster this season.

Looking ahead to 2022, the Bears’ dead cap is more than concerning, as they’re on the hook for $12.77 million in dead cap next season due to cuts and void years.

  • QB Andy Dalton – $5M
  • TE Jimmy Graham – $4.66M
  • RT Germain Ifedi – $1.5M
  • S Tashaun Gipson – $750K
  • TE Jesse James – $487.5K
  • RB Damien Williams – $375K

And things could look a lot worse if the Bears move on from outside linebacker Robert Quinn ($9.3 million), linebacker Danny Trevathan ($8.9 million) and quarterback Nick Foles ($7.6 million), which would bring Chicago’s dead-cap total to nearly $40 million.

With the 2022 salary cap projected to be $208.2 million, Chicago’s current $12.77 million will give them a salary cap of $195.43 million. And that’s before any anticipated moves, including Quinn and Foles (who would combine for $29.7 million in dead cap), which would leave the bears with just $187.5 million to work with.

The Bears continue to push money to the future, which shows they’re confident they can contend this season. Even though it might ultimately hurt them down the line, especially with quarterback Justin Fields on a rookie deal.


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