The Bears have placed tight end Martellus Bennett on injured reserve, ending his season with four weeks left to play, the team announced today (via Twitter). To replace Bennett on the 53-man roster, the club has signed free agent tight end Rob Housler.
It’s been an eventful for year for Bennett, who had been battling a rib issue. The Pro Bowler saw his numbers dip in 2015 after he set new career-highs across the board in 2014. While he has still caught 53 balls, Bennett was rumored to be unhappy with his role in the team’s offense under new head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase.
Bennett’s agent dismissed the notion that there’s any sort of rift between his client and the Bears, but considering the 28-year-old had been hoping to sign a new contract earlier this year – skipping the team’s voluntary minicamp but eventually reporting – it’ll be an interesting situation to watch this offseason. Bennett has one year left on his contract with Chicago, and is owed a non-guaranteed base salary of just over $5MM in 2016.
As for Housler, the former Cardinals tight end had some productive years in Arizona in 2012 and 2013, but saw his role reduced last year before leaving the team in free agency. He played for the Browns earlier this season, but caught just one ball in six games with the club.