Is this Long's Last Hurrah?
Feb 26th, 2019 Kyle Long restructured his contract to free up $3,000,000 of much needed cap space. After Long restructured, he sent out this tweet: "Bear for Life 🙏" which has since earned its fair share of speculation. If you're looking at the FACTS, the deal made sure Long's Contract was fully guaranteed for 2019 but also makes it cap friendly for the Bears to move on from him in 2020. If the Bears decide to release Long in 2020, they will only be hit for the 1.5 million in dead cap money they deferred from his 2019 contract in order to restructure and keep him.
So why the tweet...will he retire?
Weighing his first 3 pro bowl seasons vs. his past 3 injury-ridden seasons - resulting in multiple neck and ankle surgeries - you have to think it's a possibility. This will be his seventh year, which is a long career when looking at the average NFL life span. But Long isn't average, and has stated on multiple occasions he is excited to have a full, healthy off-season to train. This gives him the chance to get back into 2014 shape, when he regularly imposed his will on opposing defensive tackles. If he comes back and has a healthy, all-pro season it's highly unlikely he'll retire.
So why the tweet? ...it's out of his control.
The Chicago Bears will be making the final decision at the end of the day, and if he is not performing up to contracts standards, they will have to let him go. Even if he is performing at a high level, they might not want to assume the 9.6 mil cap hit in 2020 due to the 2019 contract restructure.
Maybe the Bears can have their cake and eat it too!
Is it possible that Long can be cut and then re-signed next year for a hometown discount? The answer is yes! Teams regularly do this (Patriots with Legarrette Blount), usually after the player tests out the free agency market and doesn't like what they see. It seems like wishful thinking, but WHEN it happens... you know where you heard it first.