With the 53-man roster deadline looming at 4 PM (EST) on Saturday, the Bears made another batch of cuts to get closer to the roster maximum. Most of the moves weren’t surprising, but there were a few players I was sad to see go (Swamp Monster!). I’ll break down the players informed of their release below. Not all of these are official, but multiple sources are confirming so they are probably fairly accurate.
I’ll also cover the remaining players on the bubble and make my predictions for the Bears final 53-man roster later today, so keep checking Beargoggleson for more updates. The Bears informed the seven players below that they would be released today, dropping the total number of rostered players to 68.
Bears Cuts (9/2)
NT Terry (The Swamp Monster) Williams – I can’t mention Williams without using his nickname. I’m sorry, it’s awesome. What’s not awesome is that the Bears released Williams for the 2nd offseason in a row. I’m not sure what Williams needs to do in order to make the team.
He dropped his weight from over 350 pounds to under 320 this offseason and is the only true nose tackle on the roster behind Eddie Goldman. Williams also played well in limited preseason snaps. He got an extended look on Thursday against the Browns, playing the majority of snaps in the 2nd half and wrecking havoc inside.
He was credited with just a half-sack, but I counted a 2nd half sack, a couple of tackles near the line of scrimmage, and multiple plays where he generated interior pressure, one in particular against a double team that he beat with power and a swim move. The Bears released and re-signed Williams multiple times last offseason, so we could see more of the same this year.
It’s possible the Bears are looking for an upgrade at nose tackle, but there just aren’t many players large enough to occupy two blockers in the middle of the field and still generate occasional pressure on the QB. Williams still has stamina issues, but is explosive off the ball and uses his low center of gravity to drive blockers into the backfield. Williams could end up on the practice squad, but I’m hoping he finds away on the Bears active roster at some point this season.
C Khaled Holmes – The Bears added Holmes to the roster after the first preseason game debacle when it was crystal clear that rookie Cody Whitehair was not the answer at back-up center. Unfortunately, Holmes wasn’t much better. The 4th year veteran was a former 4th round pick by the Colts who started nine games for them at center over the last two seasons, but either he couldn’t pick up the Bears blocking scheme or just isn’t very good.
C/G Shelley Smith – Was added to the Bears roster on the same day as Holmes as competition at center. He got his first stretch of extended snaps in the 2nd half of the 4th preseason game against the Browns and looked lost. He was beaten badly twice that I saw and more than once was standing away from the play with no one around him to block. Smith also got out way ahead of a screen pass allowing two blockers to get behind him and make the stop for a minimal gain. I didn’t see anything from Smith to make me think he will be back with the Bears or picked up by another team.
OT Garry Williams – The veteran swing tackle had a promising debut with the Bears, as one of the only Bears linemen who could hold their own against a fierce Broncos pass rush. Unfortunately, Williams regressed from there and was beat consistently by speed rushers in the next three preseason games. Williams struggled again last night against the Browns 2nd & 3rd string pass rushers which sealed his fate. The Bears should be scouring the cuts around the league this week because they are very thin on the offensive line.
CB Kevin Peterson – An undrafted free agent who I had graded as a 5th round pick had a chance to take advantage of the injuries in the Bears secondary to earn a spot on the roster. Peterson couldn’t capitalize, partially because he hasn’t been able to gain any weight/strength and at 5’10, 179 pounds just isn’t big or strong enough to compete against NFL receivers right now.
Peterson is very quick and has legit man to man coverage skills. He had a stretch in the Big 12 last year where he only allowed seven catches over five weeks despite matching up with NFL rookies like Sterling Shepard, Corey Coleman, and Josh Doctson. Injuries sabotaged the 2nd half of Peterson’s season and most of draft season as well, keeping him from working out for most teams and gaining the bulk needed to hold up at the NFL level. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Peterson end up on the Bears practice squad this year and be put on an intense weight gain program.
WR/KR B.J. Daniels – A former college QB who was used as a jack-of-all-trades with the Seahawks for a couple years before the Bears signed him off their practice squad. The Bears had used Daniels as a receiver and punt returner in the last two preseason games, but a crucial special teams mistake that led to the Browns only TD last night may have cost Daniels his spot on the roster. He let a punt hit him on the leg, giving the Browns the ball inside the 20 that led to a TD. Daniels has some upside and versatility, but is raw as a wide receiver and return man and may need another year on the practice squad before he’s ready to contribute on Sundays.
LB Danny Mason – Has been signed and released multiple times by the Bears over the last two seasons. He spent two years in the Indoor Football League before catching on with the Broncos in 2015 and then with the Bears sporadically over the last season plus. He’s a solid special teams player who may end up on the practice squad.
The Bears still have 15 more cuts to make before tomorrow’s deadline, so check BeargogglesOn later for more updates on the Bears final 53-man roster.