Bears trade Greg Olsen to Panthers

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And just like that there is one tight end remaining with the Chicago Bears of the four who were on the roster a season ago.

The Bears traded former first-round draft pick Greg Olsen to the Carolina Panthers for a player (not Steve Smith, according to a league source) and a draft pick, just one of three moves the team made at the position today. The specific compensation is not yet known.

Veteran Brandon Manumaleuna, signed to a $15 million, five-year contract a year ago was released before he was due a $1 million signing bonus. Manumaleuna pocketed $6.105 million last season. The team agreed to terms with Matt Spaeth, the former Pittsburgh Steeler, on a contract as well.

That leaves Kellen Davis as the only holdover in the position room from last season as the contract of veteran Desmond Clark expired. The Bears could still add another tight end.

Olsen, who had one year remaining on his contract and agreed to an extension with the Panthers, goes to Carolina where he will team with another former University of Miami star, Jeremy Shockey. It gives rookie quarterback Cam Newton another weapon as the Panthers hope to rebuild quickly. Carolina offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski held the same position for the Hurricanes when Olsen transferred there from Notre Dame in 2003.

Olsen had concerns about Mike Martz’s offense a year ago but seemed to grow into it. Apparently, the Bears didn’t see a bright enough future for him to entertain the idea of extending his contract themselves. Thus, the trade.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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