Earl Bennettstaved off a potential trade late last August to retain his No. 3 receiver role throughout the Chicago Bears' 2013 season.
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ESPN Chicago's Jeff Dickerson reported Tuesday that Bennett was expected to be released after declining a pay cut. The Bears later made the wide receiver's release official.
Falling to the fifth option in the passing attack, Bennett managed a paltry 243 receiving yards on 32 catches primarily out of the slot last season. Of 111 receivers ranked by Pro Football Focus, Bennett's average of 7.6 yards per reception was dead last -- a full yard shy of Davone Bess.
Bennett is due nearly $2.5 million this season. It's easy to see why the Bears would prefer to replace him with raw but talented 2013 seventh-round draft pick Marquess Wilson.
Once he's cut loose, Bennett might want to dial up former Bears coach Lovie Smith, who could use a slot receiver between Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams in Tampa.
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