Which Bears should play as if their jobs are on the line?
It happens every year. It scrolls across the bottom line on Sportscenter, you get the push notification; “wow, so and so got cut, I did not see that coming.” It may not be the same team every year, but there are multiple cases across the league of surprising cuts due to injury, cap reasons, rookies shining, you name it. Teams are looking to get younger and cheaper every year, So with that said, who are five Bears that you may be a bit surprised when you see that they have been cut this year?
5. Mitch Unrein
Many may think that Unrein would not be a huge surprise if cut. However, this is the guy who finished second on the team in snaps played among defensive lineman. However, he will enter the year at age 30 and last year he had career highs in starts, snaps played, sacks and tackles.
It was the depletion of the line and the lack of talent that it features that led Unrein to all of his success last season. His statistical upgrades were more due to opportunity than talent. When looking at the Bears defensive line there are a lot of questions, but when healthy it can be a strong unit.
Eddie Goldman and Akiem Hicks are the locks to make the team. Jaye Howard has strong starter upside, so assuming he is not waived injured, he should have a huge edge on Unrein. Unrein is only signed on for this season, and while he played more than a rookie, Jonathan Bullard, last season, Bullard has a lot more upside and a jump in his play is expected. Four players should easily make it over him.
It leaves John Jenkins, C.J. Wilson, Rashaad Coward, Kapron Lewis-Moore and Unrein for the final two spots. In terms of experience, Unrein should beat all four for the top spot. However, in terms of upside, Unrein may be at the bottom. It would be a surprise to see two of these four beat out Unrein, but it is not impossible. Unrein should enter camp with an idea that he is fighting for his job.