Examining changes to Chicago Bears Linebacker room

Roquan Smith vs Bengals (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Roquan Smith vs Bengals (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears roster had some dramatic changes in the past year. With a new head coach and General Manager, they are flipping it on its head, but mainly tearing things down before building it back up. Last year we wrote up the linebacker depth chart after OTAs. It looked like the following with the returning players in bold:

Roquan Smith 

Danny Trevathan (Unsigned)

Christian Jones (unsigned)

Josh Woods (FA signed with DET)

Joel Iyegbuniwe (FA signed with SEA)

Caleb Johnson 

Austin Calitro (unsigned)

Two players who were supposed to be key contributors to the 2021 Chicago Bears are currently not signed. That shows where this team was last season. Iyegbuniwe wound up following Sean Desai to Seattle, while Josh Woods moved to Detroit.

What has the linebacker depth chart turned into with just 12 months difference?

Chicago Bears 2022 Linebacker Depth Chart

Roquan Smith

The number one linebacker when the Bears left OTAs last season is the number one linebacker on the depth chart today. Now, the question becomes what an extension looks like, and how interested is the new regime in getting the deal done before the start of the regular season.

Nicholas Morrow (FA)

The Chicago Bears are expecting big things from Morrow. He missed all of last season with an injury, so the Bears feel they are getting an under-the-radar stud who would have been much more sought after had he played. They are testing Morrow early into OTAs by letting him call plays, a surefire sign that he will get as many snaps as he can handle.

Matthew Adams (FA)

Matthew Adams is one of the least known players for Bears fans, but the most known by the coaching staff. The Colts drafted him and he played special teams, as well as a linebacker for the past four years. Adams is one of a few players who followed this coaching staff, so you know he will be relied on for establishing the new culture.

Caleb Johnson

One of the few holdovers from the roster last year, Johnson technically moved up the depth chart although that mainly is from the depletion of names above him last year.

Joe Thomas (FA)

Joe Thomas was one of the first players that Ryan Poles signed, but that does not mean as much, other than that he was eligible to sign before other free agents because of his contract status. Thomas has also been in the NFL since 2015 and has starting experience so he may get a nod on the roster.

Jack Sanborn (UDFA)

Sanborn is the popular UDFA from this years crop. The Wisconsin player was on many Bears fans screens, and they will be rooting for him to make the roster.

CJ Avery (UDFA)

CJ Avery is lesser-known than Sanborn but has a lot of the same upside in a similar frame. Avery was a safety who moved to linebacker in college at Louisville.

Christian Albright (UDFA)

Christian Allbright is another UDFA, this one being from Ball State. He is the least known of the three but could catch on with a strong summer.

Next. Darnell Mooney advanced stats review. dark

Noah Dawkins (FA)

Noah Dawkins was a UDFA who has played with the Buccaneers and Jets during his time in the NFL. He has been in the NFL since 2019 and has not caught on, making the younger names more enticing.