Will Mike Pennel make Chicago Bears roster in 2022?

Chicago Bears (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears moved on from Jeremiah Attaochu to add Mike Pennel. The move is not surprising from the side point of cutting Attaochu. Still, the addition of Pennel is a bit surprising, at least when you factor in where he was last year at this point.

In 2021, the Bears signed Pennel after spending 2019 and 2020 with the Kansas City City Chiefs. However, after he got banged up in training the team let him go with an injury settlement.

Pennel wound up getting healthy and spent the season on the Atlanta Falcons roster. Now, he is back with Chicago, the team that let him go less than a year ago.

The one thing that Pennel has going for him is the Chiefs connection. With two years spent there, Ryan Poles was working on his fit with the Chiefs and whether the team wanted to bring him in or keep him. The familiarity that Poles has could go a long way.

From there, it will be a numbers game. When you look at the Bears’ interior defensive line, it is not loaded with talent, but it does have some depth in numbers.

Angelo Blackson and Justin Jones will likely be ahead of all linemen as the two starters. Mario Edwards is likely to make the roster, but his role is very different than what Pennel would provide. Edwards is more of an inside-outside lineman while Pennel is a nose tackle.

The nose tackle is Khyiris Tonga. Pennel and Tonga competed for a role last season, but the injury to Pennel made it a no-contest.

Still, Tonga did not show anything as a rookie, and now Pennel is actually the front office advantage considering Tonga was not a Poles pick, but Poles helped signed Pennel with KC and did just sign him with Chicago.

Four or five interior linemen are going to make the roster, so that could be enough for Tonga to make it with Pennel on the roster as well.

Still, that will make it a competition with names such as Sam Kamara, LaCale London, and Micah Treadway-Dew. Kamara in particular has shown upside and has much more versatility than having the Bears keep two nose tackles.

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In most cases, the team is right where they were last year, with Tonga and Pennel competing for one role. Last year Tonga won by default, this year may be different.