Chicago Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett (80) celebrates after catching a pass in the end zone for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Earl Bennett set to be released, Marquess Wilson next man up

Most of us expected the Chicago Bears to cut ties with No. 3 WR Earl Bennett this offseason due to his $2.35 million base salary next season that escalates to $2.5-3 million in 2015. Although Bennett’s salary is cheap on the surface, he hasn’t been productive ever since being a decent wideout in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, and it was always time for the Bears to move on. Exacerbating the likelihood of Bennett’s chances of being released was the quiet emergence of wide receiver Marquess Wilson, who is heading into the second year of his career and has plenty of raw talent. A potentially great WR3 behind superstar duo Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, Wilson has all the tools to make the Bears offense even more deadly.

It’s not surprising to hear ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson report that the Bears are expected to cut ties with Bennett after he was unwilling to take a paycut. I don’t think they asked him to take a paycut until relatively recently, but I have a feeling this was in the works for some time. The Bears probably didn’t expect Bennett to take a paycut, and it will be interesting to see if he can fetch that kind of money with a team like the Carolina Panthers.

Dickerson also reports that Wilson “has emerged” as the team’s WR3, and this should surprise less people. Wilson is somebody to watch for closely this offseason, and I will keep a close eye on him in August via training camp reports and preseason games.

Tags: Chicago Bears Earl Bennett Marquess Wilson Transactions

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