NFL rosters are set across the league, although they’re sure to undergo plenty of changes over the next 48 hours. Now, the waiting game begins as hundreds of players await their NFL future.
While some cuts were expected and others came as a surprise, all of them were difficult in some sort of way — whether it was rookies who just fell short or veterans who fell short of expectations.
With that in mind, here are my toughest roster cuts following the Bears’ initial 53-man roster.
Trevis Gipson played lights out this preseason, totaling two sacks and forcing a turnover. But the writing was on the wall for the former fifth-round pick, as the Bears overhauled the defensive end room and he found himself among the bottom of the depth chart. Chicago tried to trade Gipson, but couldn’t get a deal in place, so he was a surprise cut. Still, Gipson’s preseason play showed he can still be impactful getting after the quarterback. And there was an argument to be made he should’ve gotten the nod over Rasheem Green.
DT Travis Bell
Seventh-round rookie Travis Bell was the feel-good story of the NFL draft. But when it comes to a crowded defensive line room, there was simply no room for Bell. The Bears are carrying four interior specific linemen — Justin Jones, Andrew Billings and rookies Gervon Dexter Sr. and Zacch Pickens. But Bell would be a prime candidate for the practice squad if he clears waivers.
DE D'Anthony Jones
While quarterback Tyson Bagent was the lone undrafted rookie to make the roster, many expected defensive end D’Anthony Jones to contend for a roster spot. Jones had a strong summer, where he shined in the preseason with his quick get-off and pressuring the quarterback. But he faced an uphill battle in a crowded defensive line room. If Jones clears waivers, he’d be a top candidate to develop on the practice squad.
Nsimba Webster has been a mainstay on the Bears’ practice squad for the last few years, where he survived the transition to the Ryan Poles-Matt Eberflus era. Webster had an impressive preseason finale, where he had three catches for 37 yards and two rushes for 22 yards. He’s also an option in the punt return game, which remains a question. While it wasn’t enough to earn a roster spot, he could make a return to the practice squad.
Michael Ojemudia was impressive this summer, and he definitely put himself into the conversation for one of the final cornerback spots with a strong preseason. Ojemudia saved his best for last with a three pass breakup performance against the Bills. But Josh Blackwell and Jaylon Jones got the nod over Ojemudia, who could be brought back on the practice squad.
LB Micah Baskerville
Micah Baskerville had a strong training camp, and it seemed like the Bears found another undrafted gem at linebacker. While Baskerville impressed both on the practice field and in preseason, he didn’t make the cut with Dylan Cole, who’s spent most of the summer injured, getting the final nod. Still, Baskerville is a prime practice squad candidate, should he clear waivers.
QB P.J. Walker
The Bears signed P.J. Walker to serve as Justin Fields’ backup, providing a veteran option in the quarterback room. But Walker had a rough summer, where he struggled in training camp and preseason. That, coupled with undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent’s strong camp and preseason, marked the end of Walker’s Bears career before it began. It was a tough cut, but one that made sense given how things transpired this summer.
You always hope that every member of a draft class makes the 53-man roster, but seventh-round rookie Kendall Williamson found himself the odd man out at safety. Outside of Eddie Jackson, Jaquan Brisker and Elijah Hicks, there was a one roster spot up for grabs. But Williamson wasn’t able to beat out A.J. Thomas, an undrafted rookie from last year. With that said, Williamson feels like a good developmental option on the practice squad.
Daurice Fountain was a preseason standout in a crowded wide receiver room, but it wasn’t enough to edge our Equanimeous St. Brown or Velus Jones Jr. Fountain had his best outing against the Colts, where he had five catches for 86 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown. Fountain, who made some impressive catches this summer, is a top practice squad option.
FB Robert Burns
Robert Burns, an undrafted rookie out of Connecticut, had a strong preseason. He had eight carries for 39 yards (4.9 average) and added five receptions for 22 yards and a touchdown — as a fullback. But with Khari Blasingame a lock for the roster, Burns didn’t really stand a chance at making the roster. Although, Burns is a prime candidate for the practice squad.
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