Sitton had been scheduled to collect $8MM cash in 2018: $7.4MM in base salary, $500K in roster bonus, and $100K in workout bonus. All told, Sitton would have counted for roughly $8.573MM on the Bears’ 2018 salary cap. By declining Sitton’s option, Chicago will create nearly $8MM in additional cap space.
The 31-year-old Sitton originally joined the Bears in 2016 after surprisingly being released by the division rival Packers. Although minor health issues have been a concern, Sitton has been outstanding in the Windy City. Just last season, Sitton ranked as the the fifth-best guard in the league, per Pro Football Focus, and his marks have remained steady throughout the duration of his career.
Going forward, the Bears will have a hole to fill at left guard without Sitton in tow. Chicago has the option of moving 2015 third-round pick Hroniss Grasu to guard, or shifting 2016 second-rounder Cody Whitehair back to guard and allowing Grasu to play the pivot. Alternatively, the Bears might look to replace Sitton with another free agent, or a draft pick who is not yet on the roster.
Although Sitton is over the age of 30, it’s hard to argue he’s not one of the best guards available on the open market. He likely won’t command the sort of years or dollars that Andrew Norwell will, but Sitton could make for a sensible veteran option for a number of clubs with issues along the interior.
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