In a move everyone saw coming, the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs reports that the Bears will release receiver Markus Wheaton. The release will come on the heels of the finalized Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel deals.
Wheaton, who came over as part of the monstrosity known as Chicago's 2017 free agent class, would've been due $5 million had he been retained on their roster. With him being guaranteed only $6 million of a two-year, $11 million dollar deal last March, the Bears had their route to quickly move on from him if he were to fail as an added receiver. After appearing in only 11 games and catching just three passes for 51 yards, they saw their opportunity to move on from a faulty personnel evaluation.
Wheaton was never able to gain any traction during his short time with Chicago. Given the tremendous lack of production he offered when actually available, the Bears weren't about to give him another shot and again put Mitchell Trubisky at a disadvantage in terms of weapons he has to throw to.
By cutting Wheaton, the Bears save $5 million in cap space with only $750,000 in dead money for 2018. Since the team has overhauled it’s entire receiving corps this free agency to help Trubisky take a second-year leap, and with Matt Nagy in the fold, the move on Wheaton makes perfect sense to cut ties as soon as possible.
Wheaton's release follows the expected aggressiveness by general manager Ryan Pace and company this off-season. Aggressiveness that ideally and quickly makes up for a poor overall open market showing in 2017.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for The Rock River Times, an editor for Windy City Gridiron and Inside The Pylon, and is a contributor to Pro Football Weekly and The Athletic Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.