Bears secondary will be at a crossroads after 2013

The Chicago Bears boast one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL in Pro Bowlers Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings. But certain factors could split them up–along with starting safety Major Wright–after the 2013 season.

Via John Mullin of Csnchicago.com:

“The Bears’ plan beyond 2013 is a concern. Tillman is 33. Jennings turns 30 in December. Both will be free agents. So will Wright, who had a career-best four interceptions last season and was the fourth-leading tackler.”

Keeping the Bears’ stellar secondary together beyond the 2013 season will likely be tough, as Overthecap.com projects the Bears to have just over $1.6 million in cap room this year, good enough for 30th in the league. Plus, Jennings and Tillman will probably want big money as each of their next contracts will likely be the last big payday of their respective careers. Adding to the complication is the fact that the Bears have expressed interest in re-signing Jay Cutler within the next year–and we all know that quarterbacks ain’t cheap.

The bottom line is it looks like the Bears won’t be able to retain all or maybe even most of their elite-caliber secondary after this season. From a big-picture standpoint, the luxury of having Jay Cutler on the roster at a relatively low cap number ($10.3 million as opposed to someone like Philip Rivers who will cost the Chargers a $17.1 million hit) will come to an end after this season as well, so this year will be the Bears’ best chance at a Super Bowl because of this cap advantage.

What happens next offseason will have a lot to do with how good the Bears are in the years to come. But keeping their secondary together beyond 2013 looks like an unrealistic expectation at this point.