Examining the Chicago Bears Roster: Not Many Spots Available

Nov 26, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Marquess Wilson (10) rushes with the football during the second quarter of a NFL game against the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 26, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Marquess Wilson (10) rushes with the football during the second quarter of a NFL game against the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bears have added a tremendous amount of youth to the roster. Ryan Pace has put his focus on the draft and finding youthful free agents to add to the team with the idea of making the team, young, hungry and athletic.

In doing so, Pace has done a major overhaul of the roster, the amount of players left from 2014 (pre Pace) is rapidly declining, and could even potentially dip into single digits in just two offseasons. Pace is trying to put his stamp on this team. He wants to win or lose with his players, and not be tied to players that were brought in from previous regimes. When you keep that mindset in focus, you realize that many of the Bears roster spots are already determined and there aren’t that many open positions. Roster battles will be very heated in training camp this year, especially when you consider the Bears roster.

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On offense, Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer will be at QB. With the signing of Hoyer, there’s almost no reason to keep Fales on the roster. Pace will probably keep an emergency QB (such as Matt Blanchard) on the practice squad, but tying up a roster spot with an emergency QB is not something Pace wants to do.

Jeremy Langford and rookie Jordan Crawford are locks to make the team. It’s my belief that any of Pace’s draft picks from 2015 and 2016 are locks to make the roster and to make the active roster at that. I don’t expect any of this year’s rookies to be dropped to the practice squad, unless they have a horrendous training camp. Pace will give his draft picks every opportunity to shine. There are plenty of other locks on offense. Zach Miller is a lock. At the wide receiver position, Kevin White, Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal (due to the contract), and Daniel Braverman will all be on the roster. Up front, Charles Leno, Cody Whitehair, Hroniss Grasu, Kyle Long and Bobby Massie all appear set to start. Tayo Fabaluje and Manny Ramirez will certainly be on the roster, and it appears Ted Larsen’s spot is also pretty secure. Those are 17 of the 53 available roster spots out of camp.

Defensively, Jonathan Bullard, Eddie Goldman, Akiem Hicks and Mitch Unrein will certainly be on the roster. At linebacker, Leonard Floyd, Jerrell Freeman, Danny Trevathan, Pernell McPhee, Nick Kwiatkoski, and Lamarr Houston have their positions locked in. In the secondary, Adrian Amos isn’t going anywhere. Tracy Porter and Kyle Fuller are going to be the starting CBs. Harold Jones- Quarterly was far too impressive to release this year, and rookies Deon Bush, Deiondre Hall and Deiondre Houston-Carson are safe. We’re up to 34 roster spots, but there are more positions that should be safe.

I think Sam Acho’s spot is secure, I think Pace and John Fox love his versatility and his work ethic and he’s an asset on special teams. Chris Prosinski is also a special teams’ ace that can help out at safety. Speaking of special teams we can’t forget Robbie Gould and Pat O’Donnell, and long snapper Aaron Brewer. Omar Bolden is a John Fox- favorite who will be a special teams asset and Deonte Thompson and Marc Mariani will be returning kicks and punts. I’m also going to give a roster spot to Christian Jones. I don’t think he fits into the Bears long-term plans, but he has talent, a nose for the ball, and played 75% of the snaps last year on defense. He’ll be relegated to a substitution and special teams role, but I have a hard time believing the Bears will set him loose. That leaves 43 roster spots that appear secure.

That leaves 10 spots open for battle on the roster, but we already know some of those positions that need to be filled. The Bears will carry three tight ends, and the Bears will certainly carry four running backs. That means of those 10, 2 TEs and 2 RBs will make the roster. The Bears will also carry at least one more WR.

Defensively, the Bears need at least 2 more CBs, a back-up nose and another back-up DE. That’s 9 spots, we will call the last roster spot a wild card.

Of course there will be injuries to some of these players during the preseason and a couple of these names may make their way to the practice squad, but most of those practice squad names will be tied up by the undrafted rookies that the Bears brought in last year and the ones they are bringing in this year.

This gives Bears fans a really good idea of how the roster could shake down, seeing which tight ends emerge to take the last two roster spots is interested, Khari Lee is a great blocking asset, but could a young rookie unseat him? Rob Housler has some unique skills, but I would expect the Bears to give undrafted rookie Ben Braunecker every chance to grab that last spot, if he doesn’t, he will certainly be on the practice squad.

At running back, there are rumors the Bears might bring in a veteran RB, if they don’t, Senorise Perry might make the roster due to his special teams’ skills, Jacquizz Rodgers is a great pass blocker and receiver out of the backfield. If they take the roster spots, does that mean Ka’Deem Carey is out of a job?

Is Marquess Wilson a lock to make the roster? If so, how will that affect some of the other WRs like Cameron Meredith or Josh Bellamy?

Are Will Sutton and Ego Ferguson battling for one position? Who will emerge as Eddie Goldman’s back-up? Could Willie Young still make the roster as an extra linebacker from the one dubbed ‘wildcard’ spot or as he played his final game in Chicago?

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However the roster shakes out this year, knowing that Pace and Fox are going to focus on keeping their guys on the roster and give first and second year players ever opportunity to make the roster, there are going to be more familiar names sent packing before the Bears open the season in Houston.

Plenty are going to say it’s impossible to be in the heads of Pace and Fox and know who are locks and who are not, so certainly 1 or 2 of the 43 players that were dubbed as locks will not be on the roster. There are always surprises, but that is the best estimate that can be made based on player performance and the preference of both Pace and the coaching staff.

There are going to be plenty of position battles to watch, but the end of the roster will be even more heated. The Bears roster is becoming deep and competitive, and that’s going to make training camp and the preseason very interesting to watch.

Bill Zimmerman is an editor and featured writer for FanSided‘s BearGogglesOn. Like his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter for more news and interaction.