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Looking At The Bears Salary Cap Room And Free Agency Plans

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Breaking down Bears and the salary cap - chicagotribune.com. Here's a run down of the team with the most salary cap room in the NFC North: the Chicago Bears. They could have as much as $25 million available for free agency. While former GM Jerry Angelo wasn't too aggressive in recent years, maybe their new GM Phil Emery will have some more cash to spend.

Their top five cap charges are Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher, Jay Cutler, Charles Tillman, and Lance Briggs. I expect they'll want all five players back next season, though Briggs has made it known he's not happy about his contract. So, if anything, the cost of these five players should be higher.

The current cap charge doesn't include RB Matt Forte, who should receive the franchise tag before March 5th, unless they agree to a long-term extension. Using the franchise tag should cost more against the cap in 2012 than would a long-term deal.

Cutler would love to see some money spent on a tall wide receiver, and there should be a few good free agent wide receivers available. If they were to sign someone like the Chargers' Vincent Jackson, they might only have enough salary cap room for one more significant signing. But maybe a receiver like Jackson is all they need to get back to the playoffs. Though they probably should find a better backup QB than Caleb Hanie.