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Monday, July 25, 2011

Peace in Our Time?

I only bring out my really poor MSPaints when it's a special occasion.

It appears that the NFL lockout officially ends today. Hallelujah. The details of the agreement can be found anywhere, but I'm just going to touch on the points that I find most relevant:

-The salary cap will be set at $120.4 million, with a floor of at least 90% of that, meaning at least 108 million, which leaves the Bears with one of the highest amounts of cap space in the league. They should have all of the room they need to re-sign their key free agents (Kreuts, Pisa or Roach, and perhaps Anthony Adams and Danieal Manning) and to acquire at least one starting-caliber offensive lineman and depth at wide receiver. Fortunately the raised floor will force them to spend a significant chunk, so the usual McCaskey thrift won't be too much of an issue.

-According to the latest report from Adam Schefter, teams will begin negotiating with their own free agents and undrafted free agents either today or tomorrow, with true free agency beginning in the next couple days.

-Facilities will be open to players, with camps starting Wednesday or soon thereafter.

- Rookie wages will be capped, and all drafted rookies will sign four year deals (undrafted rookies will sign three-year deals) with teams having a fifth-year option for 1st round picks. The figure I'm hearing for Cam Newton is 4 years, $22 million, waaaaay down from Sam Bradford's 6 year, $78 million deal, so you can use your imagine to guess how much lower salaries will be for all of the other rookies as well.

Those are the main points I'm most concerned with, as they directly affect the Bears at the moment. Given all of those points I'd expect a few thing:

-Olin Kreutz will undoubtedly be the first player the team re-signs, although I'm afraid they'll have to overpay him. Hopefully they overpay him in cash, rather than in years, because I'd rather use up some of that abundant cap space this year than be saddled with him 2-3 years down the road or forced to take a huge cap hit for releasing him.

-I think the team is more likely to re-sign Pisa Tinoisamoa than Nick Roach, Pisa will probably sign his third straight one-year deal, while Roach leaves. Roach is a nice player, but he's young and I don't think the Bears think highly enough of him to give him a multi-year deal and commit to him as a starter, especially since they just drafted JT Thomas.

-The Bears' negotiator, Cliff Stein, is generally one of the best in the business at signing draft picks quickly, and I would expect no delays whatsoever in getting Carimi, Paea, & Co. under contract, especially since the new wage scale for rookies will make it easy for the team to simply point to a number and a dotted line.

-Get a goddamn guard, Jerry,

That should do it for now, I think. I can also say that I'm glad the HOF game was cancelled, since additional preseason games are stupid.

Football's on the way, folks. We're saved.

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