Dec 30, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett (80) before the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
I hope Earl Bennett’s concussions symptoms have cleared up, or when he gets his next paycheck, he might not remember why it’s a little light. Or a lot light. The Chicago Bears’ #3 wide receiver took a $1 million pay cut, as reported by Yahoo! Sports Brian McIntyre:
McIntyre confirmed that it was a cut and not any type of restructuring. Bennett was set to receive $2.25 in base salary but will now get only $1.25 in salary with a $100k workout bonus that he’s already earned. He will be able to earn the extra million back through incentives. The move saves the Bears $1 in cap space, giving them about $5.5 million in space heading into the season.
Bennett signed a generous contract extension back on 2011 when Jerry Angelo had money burning a hole in his pocket and no other worthy candidates to spend it on. At the time, one could argue that Bennett was the Bears’ best receiving option. Of course, the next year Brandon Marshall came to town and then Phil Emery drafted Alshon Jeffery, pushing Bennett into the role of third wide receiver.
Bennett was the subject of trade rumors before roster cutdown, but since he hadn’t been cleared from a concussion he suffered on Family Night in early August, it’s likely they couldn’t get decent value for Bennett. I heard they were being offered a Carimi-esque conditional 6th round pick for Bennett, although Phil Emery never confirmed shopping the wide receiver.
If Bennett can stay healthy – and that’s a big if with two concussions in the past 9 months – he could flourish in Marc Trestman’s offense as the slot receiver, playing inside between Marshall, Jeffery and fellow Bennett, tight end Martellus. I think he’s finally cast in the right role to play inside as a part of the supporting cast rather than being on the front line.
Are you surprised that Bennett got a haircut, so to speak? How do you think he’ll do this season? What are your expectations?