Roster Bonuses May Allow From Some Cap Recovery.......
Seven Bears due to reap roster bonuses
By Brad Biggs, Tribune reporter 6:46 p.m. CST, March 5, 2013
With the March 12 start of the NFL’s new league year only a week away, the Chicago Bears have seven players under contract with roster bonuses due in 2013.
Typically, agents work to have the roster bonuses earnable at the start of the new league year or shortly afterward because if their client is a candidate to be released, that will enable him to get into the marketplace as soon as possible to find a new team.
In the past with some players, the Bears have delayed roster bonuses until June, allowing them the time to consider potential replacements in free agency and the draft before having to make a decision on a payment.
According to documents reviewed by the Tribune, only three of the roster bonuses are for $1 million or more and it would be surprising if any of these players would be a candidate to be released.
Here are the seven players and their roster bonuses for 2013:
RB Matt Forte, $4.5 million
LB Lance Briggs, $1 million
RB Michael Bush, $1 million
K Robbie Gould, $500,000
TE Matt Spaeth, $500,000
DT Matt Toeaina, $290,000
CB Tim Jennings, $250,000
Forte's roster bonus is part of the $30.4 million, four-year contract he signed last July. Briggs’ roster bonus is from the extension he signed with the club last year. Bush was guaranteed $7 million in the $14 million, four-year contract he signed in free agency in 2012. He received $5 million in the first year of the contract. (Convert Forte's to a SB, Net Cap Gain = $3 mil)
Spaeth took a $500,000 pay cut last year when his base salary was trimmed from $1.775 million to $1.275 million. His 2013 base salary is $1.025 million and he also has a $100,000 workout bonus.
It’s not known how he fits into Marc Trestman’s new offense. Releasing Spaeth could clear $1.625 million in cap space and the Bears would have to carry $333,334 in dead space. (Net Cap Gain = $1.29 mil)
Spaeth does have value as a blocker and graded out very well in Pro Football Focus’ year-end rankings. It's possible the Bears will move forward with either him or Kellen Davis, but not both. Davis does not have a roster bonus but does carry a base salary of $2.4 million and a workout bonus of $100,000. If the Bears cut Davis, that would leave $1.35 million in dead space. (Net Cap Gain = $1.15 mil)
Toeaina, 28, played in only three games last season and made two starts after making 22 starts the previous two seasons combined. He probably fell out of the rotation because he didn’t offer as much in terms of being an interior pass rusher. But with Israel Idonije and Amobi Okoye set to be unrestricted free agents, the Bears would create more holes at this position if they parted ways with Toeania, who should return rested and ready for 2013. There isn’t a lot of flash to his game but he’s been steady as a nose tackle when given an opportunity and would be a more than suitable backup to Stephen Paea.
A lack of depth on the defensive line can be problematic. Toeaina’s base salary is $760,000 and he has a $75,000 workout bonus so releasing him would create a savings of $1.125 million, but the Bears would carry $500,000 in dead space. (Net Cap Gain = $625k)