2022 NFL free agency: Tracking Chicago Bears moves

NFL’s free agency officially begins Wednesday, March 16 at 3 pm CT, but the Chicago Bears have already been making plenty of moves in terms of cuts and trades ahead of the start of the new league year.

The legal tampering period kicks off at 11 am on Monday, March 14, which is when we should start to hear about potential signings.

The Bears are slated to have roughly $36.9 million in salary cap space, according to Spotrac, which gives general manager Ryan Poles some room to work with in building his roster.

We’re monitoring all of the cuts, re-signings, trades, restructures and new signings from early March through free agency, which officially kicks off Wednesday. Bears Wire is your source to track the comings and goings between now and throughout free agency. Be sure to check back for updates!

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Ahead of free agency, the Bears tendered all three of their exclusive rights free agents — tight end Jesper Horsted, center Sam Mustipher and offensive lineman Lachavious Simmons — to one-year deals.

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Poles’ first big move as Bears GM was trading star pass rusher Khalil Mack to the Chargers in exchange for a 2022 second-round pick, a 2023 sixth-round selection and some salary cap savings in 2022 and beyond. The Chargers agreed to take on the remainder of Mack’s contract worth north of $60 million, which will lead to $28.5 million in cap savings for 2023. Chicago’s starting edge rushers now consist of Robert Quinn and Trevis Gipson.

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The Bears are releasing running back Tarik CohenBears are releasing Tarik Cohen with injury designation with an injury designation. ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted Cohen has been unable to pass a physical since tearing his ACL in Week 3 of the 2020 season. Releasing Cohen frees up $2.25 million in cap savings and will cost $3.5 million in dead money. If it is a post-June 1 cut, it would only cost Chicago $1.75 million in dead money and free up $4 million in cap space.

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The Bears are also set to release defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, which isn’t a surprise given he was set to have a $11.8 million salary cap hit in 2022. Cutting Goldman frees up $6.7 million in cap savings and cost $5.2 million in dead money, if not a post-June 1 cut. If it is a post-June 1 cut, it would only cost Chicago around $3 million in dead money and free up $8.9 million in cap space. The Bears now have a need at both the one-technique and three-technique roles on the defensive line.

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According to Cardinals beat reporter Johnny Venerable, the Bears have been showing interest in wide receiver Christian Kirk “for weeks now.” Kirk, 25, has emerged as one of the most intriguing wide receivers set to hit the free agent market this week. Kirk, a former second-round pick in 2018, is coming off a career year with Arizona where he had 77 receptions for 982 yards and five touchdowns. He’s the kind of playmaking receiver the Bears want to surround Fields with.

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The Bears have been linked to center Brian Allen throughout the pre-free agency process. And according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Grandstand, the Bears “could be in play” for Allen’s services. There are a slew of needs along the offensive line, and center is one of them.

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