Ryan Poles continued to restructure the Bears roster on Friday, by reportedly cutting Eddie Goldman. The move comes just hours after Poles reportedly released Tarik Cohen with an injury designation, and one day after dealing Khalil Mack to the Chargers in a blockbuster trade.
The Bears drafted Goldman in the second round of the 2015 draft, and before long he became a key cog in the middle of Vic Fangio’s 3-4 defense. But Goldman opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, and it wasn’t clear for some time whether he would return in 2021. He didn’t show for mandatory minicamp last summer, and coaches said they didn’t know whether he was going to report to training camp, until he physically showed up at Halas Hall. When Goldman finally returned to game action in Week 4, he wasn’t the same dominant player that he had been in 2019. It took several weeks for Goldman to get his legs under him, and before long he began ceding snaps to rookie Khyiris Tonga.
Now with Matt Eberflus installing a 4-3 defense, a top-tier nose tackle isn’t as important as finding a dominant defensive tackle. After the Mack trade, Goldman had the fourth-highest cap hit on the team at $11.8 million, which was going to be a steep price to pay for a non-premium position. According to Spotrac, cutting Goldman will incur $5.15 million in dead money, while freeing up $6.66 million in cap space. But if Poles designates Goldman as one of his two post-June 1 cuts, those numbers change to $2.95 million in dead money for 2022, $2.2 million in dead money for 2023, and $8.86 million in cap savings this year.
The Bears now have Tonga and Auzoyah Alufohai under contract as interior defensive linemen. Akiem Hicks and Bilal Nichols are set to hit the free agent market next week.