6:54pm: The Bears did not offer Slauson a chance to take a pay reduction, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. He carried a $2.89MM base salary for 2016. Slauson made just $2.75MM last year and resided as the Bears’ second-highest-paid lineman — behind Bobby Massie — going into the weekend.
6:01pm: A couple of hours after announcing Antrel Rolle‘s time in the Windy City would be limited to one year, the Bears moved on from a longer-tenured cog by releasing Matt Slauson, Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times reports (on Twitter).
Chicago’s primary left guard since 2013, Slauson played with the Bears for three seasons, starting every game in which he played. However, the Bears selected Kansas State guard Cody Whitehair, a prospect viewed by many as the top guard in the draft, and it looks like he’ll be given a strong chance to become Slauson’s successor at left guard as Kyle Long ventures back to right guard.
Entering his age-30 campaign, Slauson was set to make $3.4MM this season. The Bears, who also signed Manny Ramirez and Ted Larsen to help out on the interior, will take on just more than $800K of dead money as a result of this transaction. Should the Bears designate Slauson as a post-June 1 cut, that amount can be spread over each of the final two years of his Chicago contract.
Second-year GM Ryan Pace praised Slauson and Rolle for their leadership (via Jahns, on Twitter).
Slauson should generate some interest on the free agent market for guard- or center-needy teams after he rebounded nicely from a malady-marred 2014 season in which a torn pectoral muscle limited him to five games. A former sixth-round selection of the Jets’ in 2009, Slauson shifted to center for much of last season due to 2015 rookie Hroniss Grasu‘s neck injury-induced eight-game absence and graded out as Pro Football Focus’ fifth-best player at that spot last season. Ramirez slotted in at No. 4. The former John Fox charge in Denver has extensive experience playing both center and guard.