Bears To Release DE Al-Quadin Muhammad

The Bears enter the 2023 offseason with by far the most spending power in the league, but they have made a move which frees up even more cap space. Chicago is releasing edge rusher Al-Quadin Muhammad, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).

The 27-year-old was a draft pick of the Saints in 2017, but only spent one season there. His most productive campaigns came in Indianapolis, where he took on a larger role in the team’s defense over the course of four straight years. His improvement was reflected by five combined sacks in 2019 and 2020. That made him a logical candidate for a new deal at the expiration of his rookie contract.

Muhammad did ink a one-year pact to stay with the Colts in March 2021. That deal had a $3.4MM value, and allowed him to take on a full-time starting role for the first time in his career. He responded by setting new personal marks in sacks (six) and tackles (48), positioning him for another notable contract on the open market. With ex-Colts DC Matt Eberflus taking the head coaching position in Chicago, it came as little surprise that Muhammad followed him to the Windy City.

The former sixth-rounder signed a two-year, $8MM deal with the Bears last offseason. That came with significant expectations, but he fell short of them. Muhammad registered just one sack this year, totaling 19 QB pressures (compared to 37 the season before). That opened the door to the Bears cutting ties with him despite being on the books for 2023 at a cap hit of only $4.4MM.

This release will save Chicago just under $4MM in cap space. The Bears already had over $90MM in available funds heading into free agency, in no small part due to the cost-shedding moves made by general manager Ryan Poles. Those include the trade sending Khalil Mack to the Chargers last March, and the one which saw Robert Quinn dealt to the Eagles midseason. Now, another veteran on the edge will need replacing in the coming months as the Bears look to re-tool their pass rush.

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