- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
The Chicago Bears have several starting jobs up for grabs this offseason during what’s sure to be an entertaining offseason. And while jobs won’t be won or lost during Organized Team Activities, which kick off Tuesday, it’s the start of what’s going to be an important training camp and preseason for a number of players.
That are several position battles that are likely to capture attention, both on offense and defense. Not only are there starting spots up for grabs, but roster spots, which is likely to leave some players without a job when all is said and done.
Let’s take a look at the four most exciting roster competitions to watch heading into training camp.
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
Following the release of Kyle Fuller and Buster Skrine, the Bears have two spots up for grabs at cornerback both at outside corner and slot corner. Jaylon Johnson, who impressed as a rookie last season, has been thrust into the role of CB1, but there are questions about who will be alongside him in the secondary. At outside corner, the Bears signed veteran Desmond Trufant as a poor man's replacement for the departed Fuller, although Trufant could certainly see some competition from the likes of Kindle Vildor or rookie Thomas Graham Jr.. Then there's the slot cornerback position, which will interesting to monitor as the offseason progresses. Duke Shelley saw time at nickelback last season as Skrine nursed a concussion, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see Vildor of Graham at slot corner. Graham was told during rookie minicamp to learn both positions to join an open competition, which will also feature Bears returning from injury in Artie Burns, Tre Roberson and Michael Joseph.
AP Photo/David Banks, Pool
Aside from Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney, there are a slew of roster spots up for grabs at the wide receiver position, which should make for an interesting offseason. Despite trade rumors swirling this offseason, Anthony Miller appears to be returning for the final year of his deal, where he'll have to compete with the likes of newcomers Marquise Goodwin and Damiere Byrd. But it's players like Javon Wims and Riley Ridley that have the most to lose, as they could be out of a job with the veteran and rookie additions the team made this offseason. Someone like sixth-round rookie Dazz Newsome, who brings special teams value to the table, is someone that could steal one of those valuable six roster spots for receivers, leaving Wims and/or Ridley on the outside looking in.
AP Photo/David Banks, Pool
While the interior of the offensive line is set with Cody Whitehair, James Daniels and Sam Mustipher, there are big questions at the tackle position. After releasing both Charles Leno and Bobby Massie this offseason, Chicago will have two new starters at the tackle position, including a rookie in Teven Jenkins, who will likely get the nod at left tackle. The Bears showed their confidence in Jenkins when they released Leno, who has been serviceable albeit an expensive left tackle. With Jenkins the guy at left tackle, that sets up competition at right tackle between Germain Ifedi and fifth-round rookie Larry Borom. Ifedi, who Chicago signed to a one-year extension, saw time at right tackle last season with the Bears in place of an injured Massie, which certainly gives him an advantage. But Chicago also believes that Borom has a good chance to challenge Ifedi for that starting right tackle role, which, if true, would give the Bears two rookie tackles on the line. No wonder they don't want to rush Justin Fields.
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
While the Bears have made it clear that Andy Dalton will be the starting quarterback when the season begins, all eyes will be on Dalton and rookie Justin Fields throughout the offseason and into the preseason. Chicago certainly won't be pressured into throwing Fields out there before he's ready, but the focus will be on how both quarterbacks are learning this new offense. Chicago doesn't want to rush Fields' development, which is why he'll start as the backup quarterback, but it'll be impossible to deflect the questions about how Dalton and Fields are stacking up against each other from the start of Organized Team Activities to training camp to preseason. While Fields will likely get the start sooner rather than later, he could certainly put the pressure on Matt Nagy with a strong training camp performance.