The salary cap-constrained Bears released veteran CB Prince Amukamara and WR Taylor Gabriel in somewhat expected cap-savings moves Friday, creating $13.5 million in space while leaving a $4.5M combined dead cap charge next season.

The Bears entered the day near the bottom of the league in salary cap space at approximately $14 million, pending the official retirement of Kyle Long.

While moving on from Amukamara, 31, and Gabriel, 29, provides the Bears a bit of financial flexibility as they prepare to reload the roster following a four-win tumble to 8-8 and third place in the NFC North, it also creates voids in the starting lineup.

In three seasons with the Bears, Amukamara started 42 of a possible 49 games at right cornerback, notching three interceptions — all in a career year in 2018 — in addition to 29 passes defensed and three forced fumbles. The former first-round draft pick who was named the PFWA "Good Guy Award" winner last season for his professionalism and cooperation with the media, was as steady on the field opposite Pro Bowler Kyle Fuller. He first arrived in Chicago on a one-year deal in 2017, parlaying that into his first multi-year NFL contract — including $18 million guaranteed — two years ago. However, like most of his peers on defense, Amukamara's play slipped a bit last season prior to missing time late with a hamstring injury.

In addition to promising third-year CB Kevin Toliver, who has acquitted himself well in Amukamara's absence the past two seasons, the Bears recently signed highly sought-after CFL standout Tre Roberson. Both of them figure to compete to replace Amukamara, though enlisting more CB help now becomes a greater priority.

Gabriel, who signed a four-year, $26 million contract with the Bears two years ago following a breakout season with the Atlanta Falcons, was limited in 2019 to seven starts because of a pair of concussions. The speedster caught four touchdowns, but three of them came in his final healthy game in Week 3 in Washington. Arguably the fastest player on the Bears, Gabriel never provided the big-play prowess they envisioned but played an important role on offense. His release magnifies the Bears' need to add more speed on the perimeter of one of the league's most punchless attacks last season. Although they only currently have six selections in April's draft, it's expected to be as deep at the receiver position as any in recent memory.

With Amukamara and Gabriel gone, the Bears could next turn their attention toward addressing the contract situation of Leonard Floyd, the 2016 first-rounder who, ironically despite improving overall during his time in the league, has had his sack total decline in each of his past three seasons. His $13.2 million salary in his fifth-year option becomes guaranteed on Mar. 18, so the Bears will exhaust their options.

The team's offensive MVP a season ago, Allen Robinson is a prime extension candidate coming off a Pro Bowl-caliber season and currently set to enter the final year of his three-year, $42 million contract.

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