Bears release Spaeth, Toeaina

The Chicago Bears need cap space and GM Phil Emery is putting heads on the chopping block. Next up, tight end Matt Spaeth and nose tackle Matt Toeaina, both of whom the team released today.

After signing big-name free agents Martellus Bennett and Jermon Bushrod yesterday, Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery was forced to start trimming money off the roster. To that end, he cut tight end Kellen Davis this morning and just recently waived nose tackle Matt Toeaina and tight end Matt Spaeth.

Toeaina was a starter for the team in 2010 and 2011, yet lost his role on the first team to Stephen Paea last year. Toeaina was active for just four games in 2012 and ended the campaign on injured reserve. He was due a $760,000 base salary, with a $290,000 roster bonus and a $75,000 workout bonus this year. The Bears called him yesterday evening and asked him to take a pay cut, likely dropping the roster bonus, and Toeaina decline.

Speath was signed to a three-year deal before the 2011 season. He's a blocking tight end who was solid last year. In fact, Pro Football Focus graded Spaeth the seventh best tight end in the league last year in terms of overall performance. Yet his inability to threaten a defense in the passing game is likely the reason he was cut.

"The days of the tight end being a down blocker and a flat runner are gone. And if you have that guy, you'd better get somebody else eventually because those days are really gone," new Bears tight ends coach Andy Bischoff told Bear Report recently. "You need to have a guy who is dynamic and athletic."

Spaeth doesn't fit that criteria and was due a $500,000 roster bonus tomorrow, which the club obviously wasn't willing to pay. The organization will save $1.6 million in cap space in 2013 by cutting Spaeth.

Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.

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