(CBS) Bears tight end Martellus Bennett has been placed on the season-ending injured reserve list with a rib injury, the team announced Tuesday afternoon.
Bennett has 53 catches for 439 yards and three touchdowns this season, playing in 11 of Chicago’s 12 games. He was injured on a hit from Denver safety T.J. Ward in a Nov. 22 contest. Bennett then missed the following week’s game at Green Bay on Thanksgiving night, staying at home instead of traveling with the team.
Bennett wasn’t listed on the Bears’ injury report ahead of Sunday’s loss to the 49ers. He recorded three catches for 14 yards.
Bennett has provided a large dose of off-field drama in recent years. He was fined and suspended for body slamming cornerback Kyle Fuller back in August 2014 in training camp. This past summer, he was a no-show at OTAs because he was disgruntled with his contract situation. Bennett has one year remaining on his contract with Chicago, with a $5.085 million in base salary, $100,000 in a workout bonus and a $1.125 million prorated bonus, according to 670 The Score’s Dan Durkin.
Bennett led all tight ends with 90 catches for 916 yards and six touchdowns in 2014.
More recently, Bennett expressed his displeasure with his role in the red-zone offense, the Chicago Tribune reported, after having a combined nine targets in contests against the Rams and Broncos.
In a notable comment, Bennett said after Chicago’s rousing win at Green Bay that he didn’t even watch the game from home.
“My wife watched the game,” Bennett said. “I heard a lot of jumping up and down, stuff like that. I felt like I was watching it.”
If the Bears parted ways with Bennett, they’d clear nearly $5.2 million next season in cap space.
In a corresponding move, Chicago has signed tight end Rob Housler, who has appeared in 61 career games with the Cardinals (2011-’14) and the Browns (2015). He was originally a third-round pick by Arizona in 2011. He has 106 career receptions.
The Bears also signed quarterback Matt Blanchard to the practice squad and terminated the practice squad contract of quarterback Justin Worley. Rookie tackle Tayo Fabuluje has also been taken off the reserve/suspended by the commissioner list, but the team currently has a roster exemption for him. He was suspended four games for using a performance-enhancing drug.