The Chicago Bears have some major salary cap issues going forward, spelling the end of the line for some high-priced players in the Windy City.
One such man might be defensive end Julius Peppers, according to ESPN.com. Peppers has been one of if not the best player at his position since coming into the league in 2002, but his production has slowly started to decline. Last year, Peppers led the Bears in sacks but did so with only 7.5, his lowest total since 2007 when he had a stunning 2.5 sacks.
Peppers is currently scheduled to have a cap hit of $18,183,333 next year, the second-highest on the team behind Jay Cutler, who was recently given a seven-year extension. Should Chicago part ways with Peppers instead of restructuring his deal, it would have to carry $4,183,333 of dead money over the next two seasons but still save a ton of coin.
Chicago is currently $12.8 million under the salary cap, per CBS Chicago, which is expected to be $126.3 million in 2014. Factor in draft picks and the need to re-sign a few players, and the Bears are in a tough spot.
At 34 years old, it seems unlikely Peppers will ever be the dominant player he once was. If he were cut, he likely would be offered a bunch of one-year deals with potential for a couple of two-year offers with little guaranteed money, making him a prime candidate for a steep restructure/pay cut with the Bears.