In what might be viewed as an indication of the Bears’ real thoughts on Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, the team is releasing running back Michael Bush and recently tight end Dante Rosario while at the same time reportedly trying to trade defensive end Julius Peppers.
Bush and Peppers have been expected to be gone this offseason because of diminished production against hefty contract numbers.
All of the moves come after, not before, Bennett re-signed with Seattle for a reported $34 million over four years. That suggests that the Bears were not sold on Bennett being worth the kind of investment that it ultimately took to land the spot-starter in the elite Seahawks front.
The Bears save some $2.6 million with the Bush and Rosario trims. Bush was signed for $14 million over four years in the 2012 offseason as the Bears worked through a multi-year contract with Matt Forte, but Bush was a major disappointment in 2013. He averaged a career-low 3.1 yards per carry and has had a decreasing average every year since the 4.8 in his second seasons (2009) in Oakland.
The Bears had re-signed Rosario 11 days ago.
Meanwhile, the inevitable exit of Peppers from Chicago inched closer with a report from Adam Schefter at ESPN that the Bears were making calls in hopes of netting something in return for Peppers rather than simply losing the former Pro Bowl fixture because of price.
That is less than unlikely because of Peppers’ $14-million salary for 2014.
The Bears’ signings of defensive tackles Nate Collins and Jeremiah Ratliff point in the general direction of the Bears targeting an edge rusher with the No. 14 pick of the draft in May.