After releasing TE Kellen Davis earlier in the day, the Chicago Bears made additional moves to cut TE Matt Spaeth and DT Matt Toeaina from the roster. The three moves combined are believed to save the Bears approximately $5.25 million in total cash.
The Bears have yet to confirm the news. Both players, however, ultimately reported their own releases.
Spaeth caught 13 passes for 78 yards over two seasons and 16 starts for the Bears but was initially brought to Chicago as a blocking tight end, coming off a 2008 Super Bowl win with the Pittsburg Steelers, in 2011.
But Spaeth under-performed as a pass-blocker in 2012, and Emery has since acquired two additional tight ends in 2012 fourth-round draft selection Evan Rodriguez and free agent, former New York Giant Martellus Bennett.
Bennett is believed to be both a solid blocker and potentially explosive receiving target, and Rodriguez showed flashes blocking out of the backfield in 2012, as well as in the passing game during the 2012 offseason.
According to this report from the Chicago Tribune’s Vaughn McClure, the Bears asked Matt Toeaina to accept a pay cut or be released on the final year of his deal. He refused.
Toeaina never became the player the Bears had expected he would when they signed him to a three-year contract in 2007 and then again in 2010. His best season came in ‘10 when he started 10 games, notching two sacks and 24 total tackles. He has slowly lost playing time ever since.
The moves made sense on a performance level, but more so on a financial level, as the Bears now fight to stay under the cap enough to sign some of their own free agents and save a pool for their draft picks.
“We are up against the cap,” Phil Emery told the media at Halas Hall on Wednesday. “So, we are going to have to be very slow and methodical and make sure that every decision that we make is going to be in the best interest of our team moving forward in terms of putting the best players on the field to win.”
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Filed under: Roster Moves