By Adam Hoge-
What happened: The Bears re-signed Charles Tillman to a one-year deal on Friday afternoon. The best cornerback in franchise history returns for at least one more season in a Chicago uniform.
How it affects the Bears’ salary cap: Space is starting to get limited, but the Bears do have more than the $2.5 million in salary cap space that was reported Friday. Remember, they still need about $5 million to allot to draft picks, however not all of those will count until the start of next season because of the “Top 51” rule in the offseason. Tillman is on a one-year deal, and an early report said it is worth just under $3.5 million. Based on my rough math, that puts the Bears somewhere around $5 million in free cap space right now. The one-year deal doesn’t surprise me, as there is still concern about the knee he injured last season.
How Tillman fits the system: Well, you know this already. He’s still the Bears’ No. 1 cornerback, even if Tim Jennings is making more money now. Tillman has the size to draw the matchups against bigger receivers, filling what was a vacant hole on the Bears’ depth chart before he re-signed. The Bears appear to be hoping they can get one more good season out of Tillman while they develop a younger option behind him.
What’s ahead: Theoretically, the Bears have 11 starters on defense, which they could have said Tuesday at 2:59 p.m. But Phil Emery will want to continue to add depth and competition across the roster. Additions are still likely at every defensive position, either through the draft or free agency.
How this affects the Bears’ NFL Draft plan: Barring further injury, Tillman’s return buys the Bears a year, but they’ll still want to find an impact cornerback to develop behind him. A case could still be made for using the No. 14 overall pick on any defensive position, however.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.