Monday morning, it became apparent that the Chicago Bears are set to make at least two significant cuts. According to CBS Sports columnist Jason La Canfora, Chicago is expected to cut ties with defensive end Julius Peppers shortly. In a move that many saw coming, it should open things up a bit more in terms of cap space.
The other move, aside from Peppers, will likely be the release of wide receiver Earl Bennett.
When healthy, Bennett has been an overlooked part of the offense over the last few years. At times, management expected too much out of Bennett, who has never been more than a third wideout. However, he played that role well during the last couple of seasons.
Quarterback Jay Cutler has had chemistry with Bennett ever since the two played together at the University of Vanderbilt. It has been evident at times that Cutler depends on Bennett in crucial moments, such as tough third down situations. Bennett and Cutler had always known a bit more about each other’s tendencies, which has helped the Bears greatly.
As tough as it may be for the team to let go of Bennett, it is a necessary move. The Bears are only currently $7 million under the cap and need all the space they can get after allowing Cutler to take up $22.5 million next season; meanwhile, needing to take care of several holes on the defense. Bennett will free up $2.45 million.
The last thing Chicago should be worried about, at this point, is offense. After finishing second overall offensively in 2013, the Bears should only continue to get better as they enter their second year under head coach Marc Trestman’s system. Letting Bennett loose will only help them focus on the abysmal unit that was the defense a season ago.