Bears above average in available salary-cap space

A handful of free-agent signings, headlined by outside linebacker Pernell McPhee, wide receiver Eddie Royal and safety Antrel Rolle, leaves the Chicago Bears with $15,226,038 worth of salary-cap space, according to the most recent figures released by the NFLPA.

The Bears’ figure will decrease slightly when the league officially processes the one-year contract signed by veteran long-snapper Thomas Gafford on Wednesday, but as of Thursday morning, Chicago ranked No. 12 in available cap space.

The average amount of salary-cap space per team is $14,179,008, per the NFLPA.

Gafford’s addition still gives the Bears an NFL-low 58 players under contract.

McPhee’s 2015 salary-cap charge of $6.675 million is the sixth-highest on the roster, behind Jay Cutler ($16.5 million), Jared Allen ($12.5 million), Matt Forte ($9.2 million), Jermon Bushrod ($8.050 million) and Lamarr Houston ($6.999 million).

The club’s two other free-agent splashes, Royal and Rolle, will count $5.5 million and $5 million against the cap in the upcoming season.

Guard Vladimir Ducasse is scheduled to eat up a modest $665,000 worth of cap space.

NFL teams are often forced to carry a substantial amount of dead salary-cap money because of the rampant release of veteran players or high-priced free agent busts, but the only noteworthy dead money currently on the Bears’ books is courtesy of former wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Even though the Bears successfully dealt Marshall and a seventh-round draft choice to the New York Jets in exchange for a fifth-round pick, the Bears are still required to carry $5.625 million worth of dead money, the remaining balance of the $7.5 million signing bonus Marshall received in conjunction with the new contract he received on May 22, 2014.