Bears 53-man roster: 5 players Ryan Poles could sign after roster cuts

·3 min read

5 players Bears could sign after NFL cut down day originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Bears cut down to their 53-man roster on Tuesday, but their personnel decisions are far from done, and their Week 1 depth chart is far from set. After spending hours deciding whom to cut and whom to keep, Ryan Poles and his team will get right back to work poring over players who were waived or released. More roster moves will be upcoming in the next several days. Some of those moves will lead to big impacts on the roster as a whole. Here’s a list of several guys that the Bears could look into claiming, or signing, in the near future.

TYLER JOHNSON - WIDE RECEIVER

Beat reporters out of Tampa Bay were surprised that Johnson didn’t make the team on Tuesday. But the Buccaneers have a deep wide receiver room with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin returning, and the addition of Julio Jones. Johnson played over half of the Bucs’ offensive snaps last season, and caught 36 balls for 310 yards.

WYATT DAVIS - OFFENSIVE GUARD

Another surprise cut. Davis was a Vikings 2021 third-round pick, but new Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has not been shy about cutting the previous regime’s players as he rebuilds the team in his own vision. Davis protected Justin Fields at Ohio State in 2019 and 2020, and won the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year Award in 2020.

AUSTIN REITER - CENTER

Reiter played for the Chiefs from 2018-2020, so Ryan Poles is plenty familiar with him. Reiter played in 42 games in Kansas City, with 32 starts. That includes all 16 starts in 2019, plus the postseason run up to their Super Bowl win. Last season, Reiter spent time with both the Dolphins and Saints, playing in seven games and starting five between the two teams. If the Bears believe Lucas Patrick’s injury will extend into the regular season, and aren’t totally happy with Sam Mustipher filling in, they could look Reiter’s way.

JUSTIN BETHEL - CORNERBACK

With neither Thomas Graham nor Tavon Young making the 53-man roster, the Bears are left to start Kindle Vildor opposite Jaylon Johnson in nickel packages. In the slot, the team has Jaylon Jones and Duke Shelley behind Kyler Gordon. They’ve experimented with DeAndre Houston-Carson as a “big nickel,” too. The team will likely look for some extra competition to fill out this room, and Bethel could be that guy. He’s primarily played on the outside over his career, but he really shines in special teams. He’s been named First-Team All-Pro twice on teams, in 2013 and 2015.

ALEX LEATHERWOOD - OFFENSIVE LINEMAN

One of the more polarizing figures of cut-down day. Leatherwood was a first-round pick last season, and certainly struggled as a rookie. He was flagged for holding and false starts seven times, each. But the Bears will be looking for more competition on the offensive line, and Leatherwood has traits which made him an intriguing prospect last season, especially if a team wants to make him a guard. Leatherwood is still owed nearly $6 million on his rookie deal, so the Bears (or any other team for that matter) likely won’t claim him. Once he becomes a free agent, someone will want to sign him to a new deal, though.

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