Bears trade Greg Olsen for pick
Olsen agreed to a four-year, $24 million extension with $10 million guaranteed, an NFL source told ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson.
"I think it's bittersweet," Olsen told "Chicago's Gamenight" on Thursday. "I've made it clear since the day I got here that I've really enjoyed my time here in Chicago. My plans all along, obviously, were to play my career here. ... The guys on the team have been awesome. And the fans obviously are second to none and this city really embraces their team. ... At the same time, I feel like for my career and going forward to go join a team that has so much promise and the guys they have in place already down there. And [offensive coordinator] Rob Chudzinski [is] a guy that I know from my college days. And what he's done with tight ends and how his offense focused around that position. So I feel like it's a great opportunity for me going forward and it's something I'm looking forward to."
Olsen, who previously expressed hopes to re-sign with the Bears, was surprised when he found out Wednesday night that the team would look to move him.
"It was definitely not was I was expecting," Olsen told "Gamenight." "I got the call last night from [agent] Drew [Rosenhaus], he kind of gave me the info, then I talked to [Bears GM] Jerry [Angelo] and they kind of laid out their plans for their future here and didn't really feel like I was going to be a part of that. ... The low priority that is put on that position and they felt that they couldn't make a commit to [it]. They moved forward and fortunately a couple teams were interested. Carolina was a great fit and the guys they have in place. In free agency, they've been as active as anybody and I think that they have a real good core group of guys. And I'm just happy to join them and help out."
The Chicago Tribune reported early Thursday morning that Rosenhaus sent a mass email to the NFL's general managers and personnel executives to announce the Bears were making his client available for a trade. Strangely, though, the original email was rescinded minutes later by Rosenhaus, who didn't immediately return phone calls or emails seeking comment.
The email -- which also reached Angelo and Bears contract negotiator Cliff Stein -- reportedly explained that the Bears had given Rosenhaus permission to seek a trade for Olsen, adding that the club would "be very reasonable on the compensation in return for Greg."
Minutes later, Rosenhaus reportedly sent another mass email asking the recipients of the original message to disregard it.
Olsen had been rumored in the past to be on the trading block, in part because of the perception the tight end didn't fit into the pass-happy system employed by Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
Olsen seemed to dispel the notion by tying for the team lead in touchdown receptions with five.
"I did everything that I was asked," Olsen said. "Playing fullback and pass protection and blocking. That was kind of the rap going in. I proved all that wrong and showed that I could play every down and did everything I was asked to do. At the end of the day, it just wasn't really a fit. And that's fine. Everyone has their ways of doing things and I have no hard feelings towards it at all and I'm just happy and satisfied that I have the opportunity to go play somewhere where I feel like I have a better opportunity."
Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Olsen -- a former first round pick in 2007 -- hasn't made public demands recently for a contract extension. In fact, Angelo and Bears coach Lovie Smith had expressed a desire to increase Olsen's involvement in the offense moving forward.
Olsen averaged 23.8 yards per catch in the 2010 playoffs, and since 2009, he ranks sixth in receiving touchdowns by a tight end (18). He's second among tight ends in franchise history with 20 career scoring grabs.
Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.