Greg Olsen has reportedly been traded to the Carolina Panthers. That much we know, thanks to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. What we don’t know–and what Biggs doesn’t know yet–is what the Bears are receiving in return.

He just knows that it’s not Steve Smith, the wideout who wants to be a Panther for life.

Rumblings of a potential Olsen trade began to emerge last night when Olsen’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was notified by the club that he has permission to seek a deal and gauge interest throughout the league. Biggs also had the details of Rosenhaus’ e-mail that was sent to all the league’s general managers just before 8 p.m. ET.

The language made it clear that the Bears had told Rosenhaus to hunt for a new destination for his client.

“The Bears have granted me permission to seek a trade for Greg Olsen. Please let me know if interested. Sounds like the Bears will be very reasonable on the compensation in return for Greg.”

Moments later, a second e-mail was sent by Rosenhaus in which he told GMs to disregard his previous message.

This is the latest and most significant development in a clear movement by the Bears to re-model their tight end depth chart. Today, Chicago also informed Brandon Manumaleuna that he’ll be released, and they signed veteran Matt Spaeth. Olsen had 404 receiving yards last year and five touchdowns, and was a reliable target for Jay Cutler in an offense with few consistent receivers.

Carolina acquired Jeremy Shockey prior to the lockout. Between the younger Olsen and the older Shockey, GM Marty Hurney is collecting as many veteran hands as possible for his inexperienced quarterbacks (Jimmy Clausen will likely start briefly before Cam Newton takes over).

This may also be the beginning of the success the Patriots had with their tandem tight ends last year spreading throughout the league, albeit in this case with one tight end who’s much older, and declining.