Bears Release Earl Bennett

3:40pm: The Bears have officially cut Bennett, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).

2:20pm: The Bears have shopped Bennett in trade talks, his contract and the inevitably of his release make a deal unlikely, tweets Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.

12:50pm: Earlier this month, we heard that the Bears hadn’t asked wide receiver Earl Bennett to take a pay cut, but that has changed within the last couple weeks. According to Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago (via Twitter), Bennett declined the Bears’ request to reduce his pay, and the team appears likely to release the veteran receiver.

With two years remaining on his contract, Bennett is no longer owed any guaranteed money, so the Bears could clear his entire $2.45MM cap number for 2014 from their books by cutting him. Bennett, who has been with Chicago since being drafted by the team in the third round in 2008, finished last season as the No. 3 receiver on the depth chart behind Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. 2013 draft pick Marquess Wilson has now emerged as the early favorite to fill that role, according to Dickerson (via Twitter).

Dickerson also reported that the Bears were in a similar situation with receiver and return man Eric Weems, who will likely be cut if he doesn’t accept a pay cut. It’s not clear if he has made a decision one way or the other yet though.

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