ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported today on his Twitter account that the Chicago Bears are shopping wide receiver Earl Bennett.
Schefter: “Bears have had some discussions about trading WR Earl Bennett. Trades not easy to make this time of year, though.”
Bennett suffered a concussion on Aug. 2 and has not seen the field since. It is his second concussion since December. He is still not cleared to practice, although he did begin a running program this week.
“Earl went out and ran today,” Marc Trestman said this afternoon. “He was out here before. He had a helmet on, shoulder pads, was running around. He caught some balls out here in practice today. He’s day to day. But it’s encouraging. He’s been released to work and begin his re-conditioning process. So that’s a good sign.”
What isn’t a good sign is the team’s interesting in sending him elsewhere. Bennett will cost $2.35 million this season, which is a heavy hit for a third receiver on a team pressed up against the salary cap. When you throw in the head injuries, you can understand why the Bears are looking for a trading partner.
Yet moving a player that isn’t even able to practice right now is a very tall order. It would be shocking if the Bears found a team willing to take on the salary and risk of Bennett less than two weeks before the start of the regular season.
So if GM Phil Emery is unable to find a trading partner, the Bears will have an interesting decision to make this Sunday, when final cuts are due. Does the team gamble that Bennett can return to full health and live up to his contract as the club’s No. 1 slot receiver? Or do they part ways with a receiver who annually underperforms, is overpaid and has had two head injuries the past eight months?
What would you do?
If Bennett is traded or waived, that opens the door for Joe Anderson, Marquess Wilson, Eric Weems or even Terrence Toliver to find a way onto the final 53-man roster.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his third season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.