With the final 53-man roster deadline this Saturday at 3 PM (CST) the Bears need to trim their roster by 22 players. It’s going to be a tough day for a lot of young players and the Bears have some really difficult decisions to make. The practice squad has been expanded to 10 players this year, so they may be able to keep more of them in the organization, but they run the risk of another team snagging a player off waivers during the time between their release and re-signing to the 10-man practice squad. I added a (PS) next to released players who I think will end up on the Bears practice squad if they clear waivers.
This was a difficult exercise, more so than last year which is a sign that the Bears have added a considerable amount of talent in the offseason. There were 4 players cut on this list that would have been sure things last year and 2 more who probably would have made the team. Here is my prediction for the Bears final 53-man roster:
Quarterback (2) – Fales strong performance in the first half made this decision tougher, but it’s clear that Fales isn’t ready to contribute this season so I’d be a little surprised if a team were willing to use a spot on their 53-man roster for him. There are a lot of QB needy teams though, so it’s definitely a risk to try to pass Fales through waivers. Ultimately I think needs elsewhere force the Bears to roll the dice on releasing Fales. With Cutler locked in as the starter for the next three years, the Bears can always try to find another developmental guy next year if another team snags Fales off waivers.
Jay Cutler, Jimmy Clausen
Released: David Fales (PS)
Running Back (3) – I’ve been saying all along that Carey was the #2 RB and that certainly appears to be the case after he was one of the 40 Bears that didn’t see the field last night. The Bears got a really long look at Draughn (10-29) which makes me think he is on the bubble. I would love to see the Bears keep Senorise Perry (or Peters according to last night’s announcer) but backing Forte up with two rookies is a risk that I don’t think Emery will take. Perry has more upside than Draughn, but Draughn’s NFL experience will make the difference. I hope I’m wrong on this one.
Matt Forte, Ka’Deem Carey, Shaun Draughn
Released: Senorise Perry (PS), Jordan Lynch (PS)
Tight End (3) – The loss of Zach Miller hurt as it will leave the Bears without an athletic move TE, but keeping both Mulligan and Rosario will give the Bears two solid blockers for their 3 TE sets and eliminate the need to play Eben Britton at TE like last year. Mastrud’s poor play last night sealed his fate.
Martellus Bennett, Matthew Mulligan, Dante Rosario
Released: Jaron Mastrud