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Kyle Long reworks Bears contract, will return in 2019

The Bears and right guard Kyle Long agreed to a restructured contract that frees up much-needed salary-cap space for the team.

“Bear for Life,” Long said on Twitter on Tuesday morning.

Long, 30, was slated to have an $8.5 million cap hit in 2019, the result of a four-year, $40 million extension he signed just before the 2016 season.

The Bears needed cap space but weren’t willing to part with Long. The Bears still believe in him, while he remains committed to them.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long (56) and his brother, Chicago Bears offensive guard Kyle Long (75), greet each other after the Bears' wild-card loss to the Eagles. | Nam Y. Huh/AP photo

The details of Long’s restructured deal weren’t immediately available. But it will provide the team with more financial flexibility. Last week, the Bears released tight end Dion Sims, a move that saved $6 million against the cap.

A first-round pick in 2013, Long spent the last three seasons battling various injuries, starting only 25 games. He suffered a right foot injury last season in the Bears’ victory against the Jets and missed the next nine weeks. But he returned for the  season finale against the Vikings. He also played every snap against the Eagles in the playoffs.

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Long’s reworked deal means that all five of the Bears’ offensive line starters are set to return in 2019 for coach Matt Nagy.

The Bears signed right tackle Bobby Massie to an extension in January and could give center Cody Whitehair one soon.

“[Long] had a unique year in the fact that he came in learning the offense, being a leader in the room and then had that injury,” Nagy said after the season. “He was able to work back to a position where he could play again and got back in there. He’s a big guy, being able to play against big defensive tackles and three-techniques. He helps you there. But I was proud of how he handled this year, how he got through it both mentally and physically. It was good for him.”