The NFL’s 53-man roster deadline has just passed and the Bears made 17 cuts today to get down to the roster limit. I made my roster predictions yesterday and actually got most of them right for once, notably Kelvin Hayden which was one of the biggest surprises (patting my self on the back right now). I was wrong on three cuts: Eben Britton, Dennis Roland and Chris Williams. I did have both David Fales and Senorise Perry making the team in my first draft, so I’m not surprised that either made the team.
The Bears still have the option of placing Marquess Wilson on the IR / Return list but that can’t happen until Tuesday, so that may free up another roster spot to bring back a released player (Williams, Bellamy) or add a player released by another team. The 10-man practice squad can’t be set until Sunday.
This is probably not the Bears final roster as I hear they are looking for help at safety and on special teams still. It seems to me that the Bears made the decision to go with youth over experience for depth, which is a good idea as they were the 29th oldest team in the league last season. They released solid veterans like Hayden, Britton, Lane, and Roland in favor of untested, but talented youngsters like Demontre Hurst, Charles Leno Jr, Cornelius Washington, Christian Jones and Senorise Perry. The key to long-term success is developing young talent into starters and it appears the Bears are at least taking a step in that direction by adding youth to the roster. Here is a breakdown of today’s 17 cuts and the 5 from yesterday as well.
CB Kelvin Hayden – The veteran corner came back from a hamstring injury last year and really struggled in the preseason. He was expected to be the Bears 4th corner, but was thoroughly outplayed by young DBs, Sherrick McManis, Demontre Hurst, and Al Louis-Jean.
G/T Eben Britton – Played well as the Bears swing tackle last season, but injuries have kept him out of preseason action and the Bears must like young swing tackles Michael Ola and Charles Leno Jr more.
DE Austen Lane – Played well enough to make the team, but was caught in a roster crunch. Both Cornelius Washington and David Bass played just as well and are younger with more upside. I thought the Bears might be able to trade Lane for special teams help.
WR Chris Williams – I thought his elite speed and return potential would keep Williams on the roster, but apparently not. His hamstring issues kept him from playing much in the preseason and the Bears went with experience at WR instead with Michael Spurlock.
WR Josh Bellamy – Made a late push with his performance in the Bears final preseason game and showed big-play talent at times, but is raw and hopefully will end up on the Bears practice squad. I wouldn’t be surprised if another team claims Bellamy, he has a future in the league.
CB Al Louis-Jean – One of the surprises of training camp. ALJ came in as a mini-camp invite and almost made the team. He is a talented CB prospect, but is only 20 and played just 9 games in college so he is very raw and an ideal practice squad candidate.
DT Brandon Dunn – Priority UDFA who showed potential as a run-stuffing DT and I think he will end up on the practice squad.
DT Tracy Robertson – Spent last year on the Bears practice squad and flashed some talent this offseason before being manhandled by Browns 1st/2nd string during the last preseason game. He may spend another year on the practice squad.
FS M.D. Jennings – No surprise here as Jennings barely saw the field in the first three preseason games and then struggled when he got a chance in the 4th. I get now why Packer fans laughed when the Bears signed him.
C Taylor Boggs – Really struggled in preseason action. Boggs has 1 year of practice squad eligibility left so the Bears may keep him around.
LB Jerry Franklin – The Bears liked his special teams ability, but Franklin was awful in an extended appearance at LB in the last preseason game. I think the Bears will be scanning the waiver wire for a special teams player that can contribute on defense as well.