Back in March, the Chicago Bears asked seventh-year veteran kick returner/receiver Eric Weems to take a pay cut this season from the $1.1 million he was scheduled to earn, and on Thursday Weems finally agreed. The Bears were expected to release Weems if he had chosen to not comply with the new offer. The team made the same offer to former wide receiver Earl Bennett also, though he declined and was released on March 18.
The new deal will reduce Weems’ $1.1 million base salary to $730,000, which is the veteran minimum for a player of his experience, and the deal still includes a $100,000 workout bonus and can move up to $500,000 if Weems collects enough receptions. The new deal will also bring down Weems’ cap figure of $1.6 million for 2014 to $1.33 million, which will come in handy when the team begins signing their new draft picks in May.
Weems’ new deal essentially mirrors that of his newest competition Domenik Hixon, who was brought in by the Bears to compete for a role as receiver and special teams contributor alongside Weems, Terrance Toliver, Josh Bellamy and Chris Williams. Last season, Weems added 13 tackles on special teams and caught one pass for an eight-yard gain.
Weems isn’t expected to contribute greatly to the offense this season, though with All-Pro returner Devin Hester parting way with the Bears this off season, the team will benefit greatly from Weems’ special teams experience. Before he joined the Bears, Weems was named to the Pro Bowl in as a member of the Atlanta Falcons in 2010 in large part because of his special teams contributions.