LAKE FOREST, Ill. — If there was any doubt before that he was a man who put the team first, then Kyle Long proved it more with his move on Tuesday.
In an effort to free up more cap space to keep or acquire new players, and assure that he would be with the franchise for the rest of his career, the offensive guard agreed to a restructured contract on Tuesday.
Both Long and the Bears announced the move.
Bear for Life 🙏🏼
— Kyle Long (@Ky1eLong) February 26, 2019
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) February 26, 2019
Terms of the restructuring were not released, but Long would have had an $8.5 million hit against the cap this season per Sportrac. Long had signed a four-year, $40 million deal in September of 2016, which had an opt-out after the 2018 season.
Indeed, neither side will take that option, as Long assures he’ll be with the Bears for the near future. With extra cap room, general manager Ryan Pace now has a better shot at keeping free agents like safety Adrian Amos or cornerback Bryce Callahan, or make a run for another player.
The Bears’ first round pick in 2013, Long made the Pro Bowl in his first three seasons, doing so at guard in 2013 and 2014, then at tackle in 2015. After missing one game in his first three seasons, injury woes crept in during the 2016 season as an ankle injury limited him to just eight games.
A variety of ailments cost Long another six games in 2017 and put an end to his season in November. A foot injury in late October against the Jets knocked Long out for eight games before he returned for the season finale against the Vikings, then the Wild Card game against the Eagles.
That painful loss won’t be the end of the guard’s career in Chicago, as he made a move to stay a “Bear for life” on Tuesday.