Bears Restructure Khalil Mack’s Contract

The Bears are freeing up some cap space. Chicago is restructuring defensive end Khalil Mack‘s contract, a source told Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Yates writes that the move will create $11MM of cap space “by converting $13M of Khalil Mack’s base salary & roster bonus into a signing bonus.” It’s a win-win as Mack will get more money upfront, while the team will have some added flexibility. The $13MM will now be spread out over the course of Mack’s contract for cap purposes .

Yates also notes that the Bears are positioning themselves to make more moves in free agency. They signed cornerback Buster Skrine and made a couple of other minor moves like signing running back Mike Davis and re-signing tight end Ben Brauneckerbut it sounds like they’re still looking to make a big splash.

So far the story of Chicago’s offseason has been departures rather than acquisitions. Safety Adrian Amos left for the division rival Packers, while cornerback Bryce Callahan is expected to sign elsewhere. It’ll be very interesting to see what the Bears decide to do with this extra cash.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

View Comments (22)
newest oldest

22 comments on “Bears Restructure Khalil Mack’s Contract

  1. braveshomer

    obviously I know it doesn’t work this way but….why not just make everyone’s contract a signing bonus then have unlimited cap space and create a super team lol?!?!

    • I give no fox

      Signing bonus is prorated over the term of the contract, so teams will always have a cap hit. Let’s say you sign a 5 year deal worth 15 million, which includes a 5 million signing bonus and annual salaries of 2 million. Your 5 million bonus gets paid up front but for cap purposes it’s spread across the life of the deal at 1 million per. Your cap hit is 3 million per year (2 for base salary and 1 million for signing bonus). So if you restructure in year 3 and convert your 2 million base into a signing bonus, your cap hit in year 3 would drop, but in years 4 and 5 you will get an additional 1 million cap hit for the restructure even tho no new money is going into your deal. If you sign a 5 year deal for 15 million signing bonus and minimum salaries than the cap hit remains the same, 3 million per year. But now you can’t restructure because the base salary is the minimum. The 3 million cap hit is considered “dead money” because it was already paid however its stuck on the cap. Long winded answer, but I hope that helps

    • Because eventually the dead money will come back to haunt teams. Its a big reason why teams like the Cowboys and Saints are seemingly always at the cap…they constantly restructure contracts to create a little bit of short term cap room at the cost of larger, long term dead money. The Tony Romo contract would be a near perfect example. Since the Cowboys had restructured his contract so many times, he still had dead money in his name up until this past season even though he retired 2 years ago.

    • JJB0811

      This is why the salary cap isn’t real. His last contract was 6 months old and yet he re-did it? Never once has any team been ‘over the cap’. Its pretty astounding that 32 teams in some 27 years of the cap’s life, have never been fined for being over it.

      This offseason, lots of talk about the Eagles being over. Yet they signed a DT & WR to big deals. How so?

      • The Eagles were over the cap until free agency started. They still had Foles’ cap hold on their salary since he was technically their player since they excercised the option on his deal even though he bought himself out…once free agency started his cap hold came off their books and the Eagles had cap space (plus they cleared more room by cutting Jernigan and trading Bennett).

        A handful of teams are usually over the cap once the season ends for varying reasons. It could be related to the bonuses/incentives in certain players’ contracts and the raises from year-to-year in contracts. I might be wrong here but I’m pretty sure teams over the cap just can’t add players to the roster if it would put them over the cap/push them further over the cap. Its why teams often try to clear cap space for the draft in addition to any free agents.

        In regards to teams being punished, the Cowboys and Redskins were punished for “being over the cap” when the lockout happened. Technically they weren’t over the cap since it was an uncapped year, but they were punished because they structured contracts to try and loophole around the fact that there was no salary cap. If my memory serves me correctly, they basically front loaded the deal so the majority/all of the guaranteed money was in the uncapped year.

        • JJB0811

          You cemented my point. If the Eagles were over the cap, where’s the punishment?

          As for the Skins and Boy’s, again you said it best. “Technically they weren’t over the cap…’. Even the Giants owner (at the time & I’m paraphrasing) said they only worked a loophole, but not actually being over the cap.

          • Your allowed to be over the cap, you just can’t make any further additions to the roster. Most incentives/bonuses don’t get tacked on until the following season (since its impossible to tell whether or not the player will achieve them) and with natural raises, teams are going to be over the cap. But they have to be under the cap by the time the actual season starts since they need to clear wiggle room for any injury replacements. The punishment is that the Eagles (or any team over the cap) can’t add any players until they are cap compliant. By letting Foles walk, cutting Jernigan, and trading Bennett (amongst other moves) they became cap compliant.

            The NHL operates in nearly the exact same way. If you’re comparing it to the NBA and MLB salary caps, its because both use different systems. The NBA has a soft cap and a hard cap (with the hard cap being the absolute limit teams can spend without adding more players to the roster). The MLB is, for all intents and purposes, uncapped with the luxury tax number serving as the unofficial salary cap.

            • “The punishment is that the Eagles (or any team over the cap) can’t add any players until they are cap compliant.”

              No, I believe the penalty would be loss of draft choices and a substantial fine. However, I don’t recall any team being over the cap when they were mandated to be under it.

              The Eagles, as an example, were never “over” the cap; they were “projected” to be over with all of their current contracts on the books—if they remained on the books—once the new league year started. They made trades, restructures, and releases, BEFORE the new league year took effect, and therefore were under the cap and never officially over it.

          • The Eagles weren’t “over the cap” for last season; they were “projected” to be over the cap for this coming season. At the end of the 2018 season they had about $4M or so in cap space, but with cap numbers for players entering the 2019 season they were over. In order to not be punished they had to restructure, release, or trade players BEFORE the new league started, so they’d be in compliance. And they did that.

            Once again the Eagles were NOT over the cap in 2018, and had to be under the cap—which they were—when the new league year started.

        • JJB0811

          “I thought the penalties imposed were proper,” Mara told ESPNDallas.com. “What they did was in violation of the spirit of the salary cap. They attempted to take advantage of a one-year loophole, and quite frankly, I think they’re lucky they didn’t lose draft picks.”

          There’s the Skins and Boys’ rival saying they did not break the rules, but was against the spirit..blah blah blah. Nothing illegal b y those teams.

          • I mean going against the spirit of the rules is objectively illegal. In the Cowboys and Redskins case, they were trying to give themselves an advantage over the other teams. Some might call that cheating. Neither team would have gotten away with that in a normal, capped year but they tried to do it in an uncapped year to gain an advantage.

            • JJB0811

              They did not break the cap rule. Simple as that. They saw a loophole and went after it. If you’re not breaking the law/rule, then its not illegal. Spirit means nothing.

              All 32 teams had there exact same ability to do what the Skins and Boys’ did. It wasn’t a ‘gift from the NFL’ and they got busted for it. It was an uncapped year. Smart business play by Jerry and Dan.

              • Being that the NFL is a private entity, and that the owners seemingly agreed to “rules” in the uncapped year, when the Redskins and Cowboys circumvented those “rules” the private entity that is the NFL and its owners had every right to impose sanctions. They didn’t take them to court over it.

                • JJB0811

                  Then why not fine the Eagles for being over the cap prior to the new league year? If they were over the cap, where is the penalty?

                  The cap has been around since 1994, and I find it extremely hard to believe that, less the Skins and Boys’ year, no team has ever been over the cap. We’re talking 30 teams average (before expansion as well as the 32 teams now) for 25 years is around 700+ years of perfection. Baloney.

                  This year over the cap says the Vikes have $7.4m in cap space. Yet they just signed a LB to roughly $13m a year. They show the Skins with around $9.9m in room. Their safety is $14m a year.

                  I’m happy for the players. The teams don’t mind spending the money either. But there is no way that in 25 years of having a cap, only twice (in the same year) that all teams have a perfect record. I’m not that gullible.

                  It’s mythical.

                  • I give no fox

                    You keep saying the eagles are over the cap, but they aren’t. You know why? Because it isn’t allowed under the rules. None of these players are actually signed yet. That’s the big piece you are missing. And as previous posters have said, incentive bonuses don’t count during the year. So let’s use the eagles. Let’s say players on that team have playoff bonuses in their contracts or pro bowl bonuses, or league award bonuses. Since those things don’t come out until the end of the year, there is no way to account for them in season. So when the year is over, those bonuses are calculated and effect the upcoming cap. You also have raises. I think foles counted 7 million last year, but 20 this year. That’s not a small chunk of change. So the eagles were cap compliant during the season, after the season when bonuses and raises are accounted for, they need to make moves to get back under the cap. They don’t have to do that overnight. The legal tampering period does not put pen to paper so there is no contract. You can agree to terms, but not sign your contract until the team is cap compliant. You see it every summer. Teams agree to terms in March with a player but they don’t sign until after June 1st because the team plans on releasing someone and wants to spread the cap hit out. It’s not a myth, it’s a complicated agreement with many moving parts that is not black and white or easy to comprehend. We get hung up on the reports that this guy signed here, when in fact they may not physically sign that deal for weeks or months.

      • JJB0811

        The NFL system is much better than the MLB’s. The TB Rays Cy Young winning pitcher got a whopping $15,500 raise this year. Now that’s robbery by the league and the team(s).

  2. sss847

    the le’veon bell to the bears rumor just went from impossible to maybe/probably not

Leave a Reply