The Chicago Bears narrowed their roster to 53 players Tuesday and will continue to make adjustments this week as they claim and sign other players.
Here are the most recent moves as the Bears assemble their roster and practice squad for the regular season.
The Bears signed quarterback Nathan Peterman and wide receiver/punt returner Trent Taylor to the active roster.
The Bears cut Peterman on Tuesday ahead of the 53-man roster deadline, but general manager Ryan Poles made clear a day later that the team wanted him back either on the practice squad or active roster.
The Bears now have three quarterbacks on their roster: starter Justin Fields, undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent and Peterman. Poles and coach Matt Eberflus said they haven’t decided who will serve as the backup to Fields in Week 1.
Peterman was the Bears third-string quarterback last season, so it’s possible they would have him serve as the backup early in the season as they develop Bagent, whose preseason play earned him a roster spot.
Poles said Taylor, who has played for the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals over five seasons, will serve as the top punt returner. The Bears still intend to develop Velus Jones Jr. and Tyler Scott in that role.
The Bears signed four more players to their practice squad.
A day after adding 11 returnees to the practice squad, they brought in four newcomers: defensive linemen Deslin Alexandre and Daniel Hardy, offensive lineman Bill Murray and kicker John Parker Romo.
The Bears announced they signed 11 players to the practice squad.
The Bears brought back seventh-round draft picks Travis Bell, a defensive tackle, and Kendall Williamson, a safety, to the practice squad.
They also signed linebackers Micah Baskerville and DeMarquis Gates, cornerback Greg Stroman Jr., defensive lineman Jalen Harris, wide receiver Nsimba Webster, fullback Robert Burns, tight end Stephen Carlson and offensive linemen Aviante Collins and Roy Mbaeteka.
All 11 players were with the Bears in training camp and were cut Tuesday.
The Bears claimed defensive end Khalid Kareem and safety Quindell Johnson off waivers.
Kareem was a 2020 fifth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals. He spent his first two-plus seasons with them and played in 23 games with 28 tackles, four quarterback hits, one sack and one forced fumble. He missed the first half of the 2022 season with an injury before the Bengals waived him, and he joined the Indianapolis Colts in November, playing in four games.
The Bears got a look at Kareem, who played at Notre Dame, during their joint practices and preseason game with the Colts. He sacked Bears quarterback Nathan Peterman on the final play of the game and had two quarterback hits, five tackles and a tackle for a loss.
Johnson is a rookie from Memphis who signed with the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted free agent.
The Bears are signing former San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver/punt returner Trent Taylor, NFL Network reported.
Taylor, a 2017 fifth-round pick, caught 79 passes for 731 yards over three seasons at the beginning of his career with the 49ers. But his main role for the Bengals was as a punt returner — a big need for the Bears.
He had 33 punt returns for 340 yards last season, an average of 10.3, and five returns of 20 or more yards.
The Bears have struggled to find a punt returner with Velus Jones Jr. having trouble catching punts and Dante Pettis going down with an injury.
The Bears now have seven wide receivers on their roster, so Taylor’s addition brings into question if there will be an upcoming cut from that room.
The Bears waived defensive end Terrell Lewis and safety A.J. Thomas.
The Bears began to clear space for waiver claims by cutting Lewis, the fifth defensive end on their roster.
Lewis joined the Bears practice squad in December after nearly three seasons with the Los Angeles Rams. He put together a strong preseason, but the Bears parted with him instead of backups Rasheem Green and Dominique Robinson. They also have starters Yannick Ngakoue and DeMarcus Walker and claimed Khalid Kareem off waivers Wednesday.
The move comes one day after the Bears waived fourth-year defensive end Trevis Gipson.
The Bears released their full slate of cuts ahead of the deadline, which included parting with defensive end Trevis Gipson.
Over three seasons with the Bears, Gipson had 10 sacks, five forced fumbles, five passes defended, 75 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss and 21 quarterback hits. But the Bears added several defensive ends this offseason, and he was pushed out.
The Bears also announced they waived defensive linemen Travis Bell, Jalen Harris, D’Anthony Jones, and Bravvion Roy; linebackers Micah Baskerville, DeMarquis Gates, Barrington Wade, Davion Taylor and Mykal Walker; defensive backs Macon Clark, Michael Ojemudia, Bralen Trahan, Kindle Vildor and Kendall Williamson; offensive linemen Kellen Diesch, Dieter Eiselen, Robert Haskins, Josh Lugg, Roy Mbaeteka and Logan Stenberg; tight ends Stephen Carlson and Lachlan Pitts; and fullback Robert Burns.
They terminated the contracts of these vested veterans: defensive lineman Andrew Brown, offensive lineman Aviante Collins, wide receivers Daurice Fountain and Nsimba Webster, quarterback Nathan Peterman and defensive back Greg Stroman.
They placed wide receiver Isaiah Ford on injured reserve and waived running back Trestan Ebner with an injury designation.
The Bears are releasing backup quarterback Nathan Peterman, NFL Network reported.
The Bears already cut ties with quarterback P.J. Walker, whom they signed to a two-year, $4.15 million contract in the spring. Now they are cutting Peterman, leaving only undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent on the roster as the backup to Justin Fields.
Coach Matt Eberflus said there is value to having a more experienced quarterback in the room to go with Bagent and Fields, who is entering his third season. So it’s possible the Bears will try to bring back Peterman on the practice squad or bring in another option with experience.
Peterman has been in the NFL since 2017 and was the Bears’ third-string quarterback last year. He played in three games and made one start in 2022.
The Bears are waiving seventh-round draft picks Travis Bell and Kendall Williamson.
Both Bell, a defensive tackle, and Williams, a safety, had too many players in front of them to gain a roster spot. But they could return on the practice squad.
Bell, whom the Bears drafted with the No. 218 pick out of FCS Kennesaw State, had six tackles and a half-sack in the preseason. Williamson, the No. 258 pick from Stanford, had six tackles, a tackle for a loss and a pass defended.
The Bears are cutting running back Trestan Ebner, a source said.
The Bears are expected to waive/injured Ebner, a sixth-round pick in 2022 who has been in concussion protocol since the preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans. Ebner had a strong offseason and was viewed as a candidate to make the roster even at a deep position, but the injury made things difficult for him.
He appeared in all 17 games as a rookie, getting 24 carries for 54 yards and catching two passes for 8 yards. He was a regular on special teams with 173 snaps and had 10 kickoff returns and three tackles.
The Bears also are expected to waive running back/fullback Robert Burns, tight end Stephen Carlson, offensive linemen Aviante Collins and Roy Mbaeteka and linebacker DeMarquis Gates, according to sources. All five are candidates to be re-signed to the practice squad.
The Bears are cutting wide receivers Daurice Fountain and Nsimba Webster, sources said.
Fountain and Webster led the Bears in receiving in preseason games. Fountain made seven catches for 116 yards and a touchdown, and Webster had seven catches for 71 yards. Webster also can serve as a returner.
Webster has been with the Bears since 2021, bouncing on and off the practice squad, and Fountain joined their practice squad midway through the 2022 season. So perhaps either will stick around in that capacity.
Other offensive players who have been cut are linemen Kellen Diesch and Robert Haskins and tight end Lachlan Pitts.
The Bears are cutting cornerback Michael Ojemudia, a source said.
The Bears claimed Ojemudia off waivers in December, and he played in one game. In the preseason, he led the Bears with four passes defended and had seven tackles.
But the Bears increased their depth at cornerback when they drafted Tyrique Stevenson and Terell Smith to add to a group that already included starters Jaylon Johnson and Kyler Gordon. So that pushed Ojemudia farther down the depth chart.
The Bears also are waiving defensive tackle Andrew Brown and linebackers Davion Taylor and Barrington Wade. Defensive lineman D’Anthony Jones also reportedly is on his way out.
The Bears have informed quarterback P.J. Walker of his release.
Walker signed a two-year, $4.15 million deal with the team in March, expected to become the backup to Justin Fields heading into the regular season. That contract included a little more than $2 million guaranteed. But Walker’s struggles through training camp and the preseason coupled with the surprise emergence of undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent convinced the Bears to move in a new direction.
Walker finished the preseason having completed 11 of 23 passes for 96 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Bears gave Bagent the majority of the work in the final preseason game against the Buffalo Bills on Saturday, with coach Matt Eberflus saying they wanted to see how Bagent performed with the second-string offense.
They left the fourth quarter for Walker, who completed 6 of 11 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown.
“I’ve had my struggles this preseason, but at the end of the day, it’s just me trying to find ways to get back to playing my game and doing what I do,” Walker said after the game. “I felt good. Any opportunity is the best opportunity. So for me, I wanted to go out there and take advantage of the tests I had, no matter what quarter it was, first, second, third or fourth.”
Walker joined the Bears after playing in 15 NFL games with the Carolina Panthers over the last three seasons. He spent time with the Indianapolis Colts practice squad and in the XFL before joining the Panthers, where he completed 131 of 228 passes for 1,461 yards, five touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Bears coaches said Walker’s experience in the league would be valuable to the quarterback room, but Bagent made a case throughout the preseason for the Bears to take a deeper look at what he can do.
It will now be interesting to see whether the Bears choose to keep Nathan Peterman around on the practice squad to retain a veteran presence behind Fields in the quarterbacks room.
Offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood has been waived.
A first-round pick in 2021, Leatherwood was cut by the Las Vegas Raiders at the end of the preseason a year ago.
The Bears made a low-risk claim hoping to revive his NFL career. But Leatherwood has struggled over the past year to secure a significant role and, even amid the team’s current injury woes on the offensive line, didn’t do enough to make the team’s initial 53-man roster. Leatherwood is still owed just more than $4.5 million guaranteed, which the Bears will be responsible for.
The team must also sort through its current issues on the offensive line to identify the likely starting quintet for Week 1 plus quality depth behind that.
Offensive lineman Gabe Houy has been waived with an injury designation.
Houy was an undrafted rookie out of Pitt who left Saturday’s preseason game on a cart. If he clears waivers as expected, he will revert to injured reserve status on Wednesday. It would not be a surprise if the Bears offered him an injury settlement in the near future.