You can cross one name off the list of potential right tackles for the Bears this coming season.
John Tait has turned in his retirement papers as an NFL source said his name came across the waiver wire less than an hour ago. The Bears have placed him on the reserve/retired list.
Tait informed the Bears in January that he was seriously contemplating retirement. No move was official at the time. When the club asked him if he wanted an announcement to be made, he said no, proof that he was going to continue to think it over even if he was mostly sure what path he was going to choose. Now, it's over. Tait, a first-round draft pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1999, walks away from the game after 10 seasons.
Of course, turning in his paperwork doesn't mean a whole lot. Remember, Brett Favre's paperwork was once turned in and we know what that turned into for Green Bay and then the New York Jets.
Tait played the last five years with the Bears and made 73 starts for them since being signed in 2004. He had one year remaining on his contract and walks away from a base salary of $4.8 million and a workout bonus of $50,000. His departure clears $4.85 million in cap space for the Bears. The team could seek $500,000 from Tait, the pro-rated portion of the $3 million signing bonus he received in his contract, and it's unknown if that is in the plans. Based on his service, character and willingness to participate in local charities, that would seem unlikely.
The Bears are still seeking a veteran to come in at right tackle. The John St. Clair situation remains at a standstill with the team still offering him a contract proposed on Feb. 13. Marvel Smith, the former Pittsburgh Steeler remains an option, and on Thursday the Cleveland Browns released Kevin Shaffer, who started 15 games last season. He's another experienced possibility.