LAKE FOREST, Ill. — In search of some cap space before a critical offseason, there were two Chicago Bears players who figured to not be around once the team begins offseason activities in the spring.
On Friday, the Bears made it official with Prince Amukamara and Taylor Gabriel. The cornerback and wide receiver were officially released on Friday afternoon.
#Bears roster update:
We have released DB Prince Amukamara and WR Taylor Gabriel.
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) February 21, 2020
The move was done with financial considerations in mind.
Amukamara was scheduled to have $9 million of his salary count against the cap if the Bears decided to keep him for 2020. Gabriel would have been $4.5 million, so these moves were expected.
Immediately, the loss of Amukamara will be the most difficult, since they’ll have to find a cornerback to start opposite Kyle Fuller for the 2020 season. Joining the Bears in 2017 from Jacksonville, Amukamara started 42 games at the position the last three seasons, including 15 in both 2018 and 2019. Amukamara enjoyed his best performance in 2018 when he had three interceptions, two forced fumbles, and 66 tackles as the Bears went 12-4 on the season.
Last season, Amukamara failed to pick off a pass in a defense where turnovers significantly decreased, forcing one fumble while making 53 tackles.
At the moment, recent free-agent signee Tre Roberson from the CFL along with Kevin Toliver II figure to be internal candidates to replace him, but the team may choose to add during the free agency or the draft.
Signed in 2018 as a versatile addition at wide receiver to complement Matt Nagy’s new offense, Gabriel played in 16 games his first season with the team but dealt with a few concussions that limited his time on the field in 2019. He missed seven games due to the injury, and didn’t play in the month of December, making 29 catches for 353 yards and four touchdowns in nine contests.