It is time for the Chicago Bears to see what they have in cornerback Kevin Toliver
The Chicago Bears release of Taylor Gabriel and Prince Amukamara were both expected. The moves helped the Bears save serious cap dollars that need to go into fixing the offense for the future. However, with every release, there needs to be someone to step up.
When it comes to Prince Amukamara, there is a question at this point as to who that will be. Tre Roberson got a big time signing bonus to leave the CFL for the NFL. However, a big signing bonus for CFL player is a small signing bonus for an NFL player. His signing bonus does not even guarantee he makes the roster.
Duke Shelley and Buster Skrine are other in house options. Skrine has manned the slot, and Shelley projects more as a slot corner as well.
This leaves Kevin Toliver. When Prince Amukamara got hurt, it was Toliver who stepped in against the Dallas Cowboys. Toliver held his own, although Amari Cooper gave him fits at times. Still, NFL corners struggle with Amari Cooper. He can grow, and overall the performance was strong.
When Amukamara was benched against the Packers for a missed tackle that led to a touchdown, it was Toliver who finished the game.
Toliver was a UDFA, but mainly for personality concerns, not on the field play. On the field, Toliver has hit every check point to date.
As a rookie, he made noise early in OTAs, and saw work in training camp. By the end of the year, he played 138 snaps, and was a special teams contributor. Year two saw another step forward with three starts, and the performances we mentioned.
Now, in year three, it is time to see what the team really has in him. He has met all expectations and progressed week by week and year by year.
The Bears have needs on the offensive line, at tight end, quarterback, safety and potentially inside linebacker. They do not have many draft picks and needed to make released to get into good cap standing. They cannot put serious resources into cornerback.
Getting a step forward from Toliver and getting close to Amukamara production at the cost of Toliver would be a game changer. This is what the Bears need to rely on, and through two seasons, Toliver has given them reason to trust.