According to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert the Bears have the most cap room going into the 2012 league year. The relatively new CBA will probably set the cap at 120 million dollars per team. According to Seifert, this is how the NFC North rounds out:
Chicago Bears: 101.8 million
Detroit Lions: 122.8 million
Green Bay Packers: 115.3 million
Minnesota Vikings: 115.3 million
As you can see, the Lions are already over the projected cap. Calvin Johnson is scheduled to make 22 million dollars in 2012, but there is a good chance they will restructure, adding more years and overall dollars, while cutting the average salary. Matthew Stafford will make 11.5 million dollars in 2012, and the Lions have a couple of key free agents such as Cliff Avril.
Probably most concerning is the Minnesota Vikings, who went 3-13 last year and 6-10 the year before. They have very little cap room, and stink, not a good combination. The most envious position is the Chicago Bears, who have almost 20 million dollars to burn and were pretty dominant until Jay Cutler went down. Expect them to go aggressively after a backup quarterback.