The Bears head into free agency in a different position than years past. Coming off a 12-4 season and an NFC North championship, they have fewer roster holes to fill. But general manager Ryan Pace still will have plenty of moves to make as free agency opens March 13.
As the Bears sign players and others join new teams, the Tribune coverage team will track the moves and provide insight into what they mean. Check back often for updates.
Former Bears safety Adrian Amos is headed to the Packers.
What it means: After 56 starts over four seasons with the Bears, Amos will play for their NFC North rival. Bears general manager Ryan Pace had expressed interest in keeping Amos around after a 2018 season in which he had two interceptions, nine passes defensed and 73 tackles. But now they're in the market for another starting safety to play alongside Eddie Jackson. The Bears had drafted Amos in the fifth round in 2015, and he had three interceptions, 18 passes defensed and three forced fumbles in his Bears career. ESPN reported the deal was for $37 million over four years, with $14 million in the first year.
The Bears converted $13 million of Khalil Mack's base salary and roster bonus into a signing bonus, creating $11 million in salary-cap space, according to ESPN.
What it means: The Bears positioned themselves to potentially make a bigger signing with the added cap space available after restructuring Mack's contract, and the move doesn't affect what Mack is paid either. After agreeing to deals with nickel cornerback Buster Skrine and running back Mike Davis on Monday night, the Bears still have the need for a starting safety, a potential running back replacement for Jordan Howard, a backup edge rusher and maybe another target for quarterback Mitch Trubisky at wide receiver or tight end.
Former Bears wide receiver Josh Bellamy has agreed to a two-year deal to join the Jets, according to multiple reports.
What it means: Bellamy's stint in Chicago is set to come to a close after five seasons with the Bears. He had 76 catches for 999 yards and five touchdowns in that span and was a key special-teams contributor. In 2018, his seventh year in the league, he had 14 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. The deal reportedly is for $7 million, with $2.75 million guaranteed. Bellamy essentially confirmed the signing on his Instagram account, posting "J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS" to his story.
Former Jets cornerback Buster Skrine has agreed to a three-year deal with the Bears, NFL Network reported.
What it means: Entering his ninth season, Skrine, 29, landed a deal worth $16.5 million, with $8.5 million guaranteed, according to a report. He fills the Bears' need for a nickel cornerback with the impending departure of free agent Bryce Callahan. Skrine had three interceptions, three forced fumbles, 30 passes defensed and 222 tackles over four seasons and 59 games with the Jets. He was a Browns fifth-round pick in 2011 and started 37 games over four seasons with them, totaling a career-high four interceptions in 2014.
Former Seahawks running back Mike Davis is signing with the Bears, NFL Network reported.
What it means: Davis, 26, is coming off his best season of four in the league. He rushed for 514 yards and four touchdowns on 112 carries and caught 34 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown in 2018. The Bears have starters Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen on their roster for now but needed depth with the impending free agency of Benny Cunningham. The Bears reportedly were fielding trade offers for Howard at the NFL combine last week, but it's unclear what the addition of Davis means for Howard. Davis tweeted a Bears emoji with a smiley face on Monday afternoon. His deal is worth $6 million over two years, with a maximum value of $7 million, according to the report.
The Bears signed tight end Ben Braunecker to a two-year deal, Brad Biggs reports.
What it means: The Bears bring back a depth piece in a tight ends room that also includes Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen. Braunecker, who was set to be a restricted free agent, had three catches for 42 yards in 15 games and two starts in 2018 and also was a key contributor on special teams. He was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2016 and will begin his fourth season with the Bears.
The Bears signed kicker Chris Blewitt after holding a tryout at Halas Hall, the team announced.
What it means: It's the Bears' second kicker signing this offseason, and Blewitt will join Redford Jones in competition for the job. Blewitt made 10 of 17 field goals in his senior season at Pittsburgh in 2016. He went to Steelers camp in 2017 but hasn't kicked for an NFL team. Blewitt won won Jamie Kohl's field-goal competition last month in Phoenix.
The Bears released reserve outside linebacker Sam Acho, the team announced.
What it means: The Bears could be in search of depth at outside linebacker after cutting Acho, who has been in Chicago four seasons. He tore his pectoral muscle in September and spent the rest of the season on injured reserve. Acho was a team leader who helped spearhead the Bears' social justice initiative and potentially could return on a more affordable deal.
The Bears will release kicker Cody Parkey at the start of the new league year, Pace confirmed at the NFL scouting combine.
What it means: The Bears are searching for a new kicker after parting with Parkey, who missed eight field-goal and three extra-point attempts in his only season with the Bears. The Bears still owe Parkey $3.5 million from the $9 million they guaranteed him last spring. They are expected to designate him as a post-June 1 cut, saving some salary-cap space for 2019. The Bears have kicker Redford Jones on board through a reserve/futures contract but are searching other avenues to create competition at the position.
The Bears restructured the contract of right guard Kyle Long to create salary-cap space.
What it means: Long took a pay cut in his base salary to save the Bears $2.9 million in cap space, according to NFL Network, but he can make back some of that through incentives. The new deal ensures Long would be back with the Bears in 2019 after his third straight injury-shortened season. The Bears now will bring back their entire starting offensive line next season -- left tackle Charles Leno, left guard James Daniels, center Cody Whitehair, Long and right tackle Bobby Massie.