The writing was on the wall when wide receiver Earl Bennett refused to take a pay cut to remain with the Bears and the Bears made things official on Tuesday.
The NFL’s daily transaction report brings word that Bennett has been released. The move creates $2.45 million in cap space for the Bears to put to use toward finding other help at wide receiver or to bolster other parts of the team.
Bennett was a third-round pick in 2008 and played 78 games for the Bears over his six years with the club. He leaves with 185 catches for 2,277 yards and 12 touchdowns. Just 85 of those catches came over the last three seasons as the Bears looked elsewhere in the passing game, but Bennett will be 27 next season and should find some interested teams now that he’s on the open market.
Carolina and Pittsburgh both come to mind as they wait to find out what Jerricho Cotchery will do and the Jets are also in need of some receiver help despite the addition of Eric Decker. The Bears are expected to bump Marquess Wilson up to Bennett’s No. 3 role for next season.