To say that the 2019 season for the Chicago Bears has been disappointing, would be an understatement.

But at the same time, the Bears have shown flashes of a team that had finally put it all together. A team that was going to be able to contend for a Super Bowl. While there is still a mathematical chance of the Bears making the playoffs this season,  the odds are slim. So it doesn’t hurt to look forward to next season. A season that the Bears may finally, once again bring back the Lombardi Trophy to the Windy City.

The core of the Bears roster will still remain under contract for at least next season. But there are still a few key contributors who are on a contract year. The first one that comes to mind is Danny Trevathan. Trevathan has averaged just over 80 tackles a year in his 4 seasons with the Bears and has been a true leader on and off the field. He is a seasoned veteran who will be entering his 9th year as a pro and has been vital to the Bears success. Bringing him back, should be very high on the priority list for Ryan Pace and the Bears this year. As the signal caller on the defense, Trevethan is a key cog that makes the defensive engine run. His effectivness in both the run and pass game would be a challenge to find in either free agency or the draft.

Another player that could possibly be on his way out the door, unfortunately, is safety HaHa Clinton-Dix. He has had a solid year and is a part of one of the best safety tandems in the league along with Eddie Jackson. Through 13 games he is 3rd on the team with 66 tackles, 2nd in interceptions with 2 (he also has a defensive touchdown), and tied for the team lead with 2 fumble recoveries. He took a calculated risk coming to Chicago when he left money on the table from other teams to sign with the Bears last offseason. While he surely realizes how special this defense is, and can continue to be, the odds of him accepting another bargain deal are slim to none. His goal was to showcase his talent on an upper tier defense and he has more than proven his worth to the Bears and the rest of the league. Most likely he will have several bidders come this offseason.

Cant Keep Everyone

On the flip side there some players on this roster that still have several years remaining on their contracts, however the Bears should still consider moving on from them. A position that the Bears have gotten very little production from this year, has been tight end. It has been several years actually since the Bears have had prominent production from the position. Trey Burton is simply making too much money, for the numbers he is putting up. Now to be fair he has had an injury filled tenure with Chicago. But the best ability in sports, is availability and Burton has not been delivering. The biggest factor in him not getting cut is that he carries a dead cap hit of $7.5 million compared to hit of $1.75 million in 2021. It makes business sense to keep him around for the 2020 season. Combined with the fact that Burton’s issues have largely been health related will most likely result in his return. Adam Shaheen, who arguably has been one of the biggest busts the Bears have drafted in several years has produced only 26 catches in his 3 years in the league, despite being drafted 45th overall. He only has one year left on his rookie contract that would carry a cap hit of almost $1.9 million should the Bears decide to cut ties with Shaheen. During the last couple weeks, the Bears have finally gotten some production from the combination of Jesper Horsted and J.P Holtz. So we will have to see how they continue to develop. But it is time to move on from Burton and Shaheen, and the contracts that come with them though Burton’s would most likely need to occur via trade.

Some other possible players the Bears could look to move on from, either to free cap space or to get some draft picks, could be Prince Amukamara, Leonard Floyd, or Taylor Gabriel. All of these players are able to contribute to the Bears being successful, but they simply cannot pay every player currently on the 52-man roster. The Bears are one of six teams heading into next season, that already have over $200 million committed to players’ salaries. $17.6 million is due to roll over to next seasons’ cap allotment, but before any cuts the Bears sit at $13.8 million in cap space. Parting ways with the three above mentioned players and most likely Shaheen stands to save the Bears $27 million. Combined with the $13.8 has would have them sitting at $40.8 million.

Even though this season is not over, as a fan of the Chicago Bears there are several reasons to be optimistic about next season. The Bears are getting hot at the right time and could be heading into the offseason on a high note. Some moves are going to be made, but this team has the potential to be as good as any team in the league.

Bear down.