The Chicago Bears are expected to use more multiple tight end personnel groupings while remaining a run-first offense under new offensive coordinator Mike Tice. With tight end Kellen Davis set for a breakout season in the passing offense, the dirty work of blocking is left to veteran Matt Spaeth.
The Bears might have been willing to move on without Spaeth, who took a $500,000 pay cut last week, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed.
Spaeth had been scheduled to earn $1.775 million in non-guaranteed base salary this season after signing a three-year, $7 million contract following the 2011 lockout. Under the restructure, Spaeth reduced his salary to a fully guaranteed $1.275 million.
The cuts didn't stop there, however, as Spaeth's $2.025 million base salary in 2013 has been reduced to $1.025 million, though a $500,000 roster bonus has been added to his contract.
Spaeth was not the only NFL veteran agree to a reduced salary last week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Sammie Stroughter was on the roster bubble this preseason, narrowly beating out Tiquan Underwood for a spot based on his special teams skills. Agreeing to level the financial playing field also could have helped Stroughter secure a roster spot.
Underwood had been scheduled to earn $615,000 in base salary this season, while Stroughter had triggered playing-time incentives in his rookie contract that escalated his 2012 base salary to $1 million.
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Stroughter agreed to reduce his base salary to $615,000 on Aug. 31, which then was fully guaranteed by the Buccaneers, and his spot on the 53-man roster was secured.