Just because the Chicago Bears released their official roster on Saturday evening doesn’t mean you can get comfortable.
You can check out the Bears’ first 53-man roster here, but there will likely be plenty of changes along the way because the NFL’s waiver period opened up at 11 a.m. – and signings will follow starting after noon.
After finishing with a woeful 3-13 record in 2016, the Bears have the third pick in the waiver order. And because the NFL condensed everything into one big cut day, the waiver period basically amounts to a second draft, which could turn out to be beneficial for a team that has depth concerns throughout the roster.
We’ll see how active GM Ryan Pace is today in re-shaping his team’s roster.
- With that in mind, Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes the Bears 53-man roster is a work in progress because, well, it is just that after Saturday’s cuts. The team will be looking for youth and depth at several different positions, but wide receiver might be the highest priority. Cameron Meredith’s loss didn’t secure a roster spot for Tanner Gentry, but the Bears could have their eyes on several receivers because it seems unlikely the team would open the season with just five at the position. Finley writes the Bears could look to release fullback Michael Burton or one of the tight ends at the bottom of the depth chart in order to make room for a new pass catcher.
- Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly questions the Bears’ receiver situation and the roster’s overall depth after Saturday’s cuts. It’s not a complete disaster, as Arkush notes improvements at quarterback and tight end, as well as faith in returning running back Jordan Howard. After that? Not so much. Arkush sees the receiver position as a disappointment, especially after the team placed Rueben Randle on IR, then parted ways with Gentry and Victor Cruz. Kevin White will need to perform to his first-round draft grade in order to elevate the group. There are questions at offensive line, which has depth, but no one stood out enough in Kyle Long’s absence in Arkush’s eyes to merit a better feeling. Of course, things can (and most likely will) change when the waiver process begins.
- One of the most notable things the Bears did that might fly under the radar is the team’s choosing to part ways with young players possessing some potential and upside (Gentry, Isaiah Irving) in favor of experienced ones who are known commodities at this point of their careers. That doesn’t necessarily vibe with the vision of a rebuilding team, but it seems to fit the kind of decision making of a team angling to win now.
- In that vein, Adam Jahns of the Sun-Times writes it will be winning time for head coach John Fox. Entering Year 3 of a four-year contract, Fox finds himself needing to mold a young roster into a team capable of bringing the Bears its first winning season under his direction. To his credit, it seems as if the players who were in camp (whether they made the opening roster or not) are on board and buying into the message being sold by their coach. There will be pressure to perform across the board to make 2017 a successful one in the win column.
- I’m sure a team that was among the most valuable in the NFL can afford to scrounge up the cash to pay Roberto Aguayo’s guarantee:
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 2, 2017
- Knowing how NFL teams like to scoop up players cut by their rivals, perhaps the Bears would be interested in a pair of receivers drafted by the Green Bay Packers a few months ago. The Packers parted ways wifth-rounder DeAngelo Yancey and seventh-rounder Malachi Dupre on their way to trimming the roster to 53. Yancey averaged 19.4 yards per touch as a senior at Purdue, while Dupre was a five-star prospect coming out of high school who led LSU in catches and receiving yards in each of the last two seasons.
- One year after falling short with a bid to retain free agent quarterback Brock Osweiler, the Broncos finally get their man (back) … and at a relative bargain. Osweiler and the Broncos agreed on a one-year deal, a necessary move for depth purposes after 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch went down with an injury to his throwing shoulder. The Browns, who cut Osweiler after naming rookie DeShone Kizer their Week 1 starter, will eat a major chunk of Osweiler’s salary this year.
- Three kickers are among the players with a higher profile who are (or could be) available after Saturday’s cuts. The Carolina Panthers could have a completely revamped special teams unit with their release of three-time first-team All-Pro punter Andy Lee and their retaining of seventh-round draft pick place kicker Harrison Butker. The team did is reportedly still fielding trade calls regarding kicker Graham Gano, hence, he wasn’t among the team’s cuts on Saturday.
- Nick Novak is another kicker who will hit the market who could be on the Bears’ radar if the team isn’t completely on board with going into the season with Connor Barth kicking. Novak, who has made 87.6 percent of his field goal attempts since 2012, was among the Houston Texans’ cuts after spending his last two years with the team.