Bears roster fallers after disappointing 2022 NFL season

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Bears roster fallers after disappointing 2022 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Throughout the year we tracked how several Bears either improved their standing on the depth chart, or stood to lose some snaps. Now that the Bears season has been done for a few weeks, let’s look at which guys made a case for their careers to continue in Chicago, and who may have lost a job over the course of the year. For instance, Velus Jones went on a journey from high-upside prospect, to turnover-prone scapegoat, to high-upside prospect again. The Bears probably would’ve liked to see more production from their third-round rookie, and fewer mistakes, but the resiliency Jones displayed towards the end of year was encouraging. That resiliency saved Jones from being lumped in with the rest of the “fallers” this year, but the mistakes kept him from being a “riser,” too. Here are the guys who didn’t manage to save their stock as much as Jones Jr. did. Check out our risers here.

NICK MORROW - LINEBACKER

The Bears signed Nick Morrow to be a fast, athletic running mate next to Roquan Smith but the pair never played up to expectations in the middle of the defense. Morrow moved from MIKE to WILL when Smith was shipped to Baltimore, and his play didn’t improve. In fact, Morrow was often outshined by undrafted free agent rookie Jack Sanborn, who enjoyed almost immediate success as the new MIKE linebacker. Further, Morrow only contributed one takeaway over the entire season. Matt Eberflus and his staff place a huge emphasis on takeaways, so they’ll want much more production in that regard moving forward.

AL-QUADIN MUHAMMAD - DEFENSIVE END

Al-Quadin Muhammad came to Chicago from Indianapolis along with Matt Eberflus, and the expectation was he would help set the standard for Eberflus’ H.I.T.S. principle program. That may have been true in the locker room, but it didn’t show up on the field. Muhammad wasn’t particularly effective as a run stuffer or a pass rusher and finished with just one sack and one TFL. He lost his starting job in the second half of the season and never won it back.

TREVIS GIPSON - DEFENSIVE END

Part of the reason the Bears felt comfortable trading Khalil Mack in the offseason was because they thought Trevis Gipson could take the next step as a pass rusher. Gipson was coming off an impressive sophomore season in 2021, when he had seven sacks, five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in a rotational role. It didn’t work out and Gipson’s production dipped to just three sacks and no takeaways despite the uptick in playing time.

LARRY BOROM - OFFENSIVE LINEMAN

The Bears gave Larry Borom the first crack at the starting left tackle job when OTAs started, which is arguably the most important position on the offensive line. From there, his stock gradually fell. Borom was switched to right tackle halfway through OTAs. Borom missed time due to a concussion and was replaced by Riley Reiff, but when Borom was healthy again Reiff kept the right tackle job. Borom worked his way back onto the line in a rotation at left guard with Dieter Eiselen when Cody Whitehair missed Week 16. He rotated in again in Week 18, but this time with Ja’Tyre Carter at right guard when Teven Jenkins was placed on IR. In both cases it never looked like Borom got his groove back.

N’KEAL HARRY - WIDE RECEIVER

The Bears took a flier on N’Keal Harry when they traded a seventh-round pick to the Patriots to acquire him over the summer. He never got off the ground in Chicago though, as he suffered an ankle injury in early August that required surgery. Harry finally made his Bears debut in Week 7, but never contributed on a consistent basis. He caught just seven balls for 116 yards and one touchdown in seven games. The Bears already have Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool, Equanimeous St. Brown and Velus Jones Jr. under contract for next season, so it seems unlikely they’d offer him a new deal.

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