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The Bears on Tuesday informed inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman his contract will be terminated.

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With the start of the new league year — and free agency — slated for March 14, it’s the first of what is expected to be a series of moves by the Bears as general manager Ryan Pacepositions the club for what will be an interesting player-acquisition period.

The Bears already were flush with salary-cap room — they ranked 11th in the league before the move, with 51 players under contract and roughly $39.7 million in available room, an impossible figure to nail down with the exact number not yet announced.

Now, they have more room. But this and future moves aren’t about cap space; they’re about roster fits and production.

Freeman, 31, suffered a torn pectoral muscle in the season-opening loss to the Falcons in September, which shut him down for the year. Later, he was suspended for 10 games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, his second suspension in as many seasons.

Signed to a three-year, $12 million contract in 2016, he was due to earn $3.5 million. Releasing him will clear $3.5 million in cap space. Freeman made 86 tackles and defended four passes in 2016.

While it’s highly unlikely the Bears will move on from all of the roster-bubble veterans, certainly more moves will follow as they shape their personnel for new coach Matt Nagy and his staff.



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