By Dan Durkin-

(CBS) Speculation about what the Bears were going to do with the money they freed up in Jay Cutler’s contract restructuring was cleared up when the team announced Wednesday they reached an agreement with free agent defensive end Jared Allen.

On the surface, Allen’s deal looks like a four-year deal worth $32 million, but the actual structure of the deal tells a different story. The deal is essentially a two-year contract with $15.5 million guaranteed.

As NFL Network reporter Albert Breer has reported, in 2014, Allen’s cap charge is $3 million, comprised of his fully guaranteed base salary. In 2015, Allen’s cap charge is $12.5 million, comprised of his $1 million fully guaranteed base salary and $11.5 million roster bonus. In total, these amounts make up the $15.5 million of guaranteed money.

In 2016 and 2017, there’s no remaining guaranteed money. Allen’s base salaries are $8.5 million and $8 million, respectively, in these seasons, and the 2017 year will void if Allen totals 12 sacks in the 2014, 2015 or 2016 seasons.

After the Allen signing, the Bears have an estimated $7.9 million in cap space. The rookie class will cost about $5 million.

The Allen signing is yet another shrewd move by Bears executives Phil Emery and Cliff Stein. They put the bulk of his cap charge in 2015 and incentivized him to bet on himself over these next three seasons to potentially earn one final payday. It’s a win-win for all involved.

Follow Dan on Twitter @djdurkin.

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