Bears' 53-man roster coming into focus after trade for Khalil Mack


While the game-changing trade for Khalil Mack garnered most of the attention, the Bears still had to trim their roster down to 53 before 3 p.m. on Saturday. With cuts announced on Saturday, here’s your first look at the 2018 Chicago Bears…

…With the caveat that there still could be some movement with waiver claims on Sunday. The total below is 54 players, but the Bears haven't officially added Mack to their roster, and will have to cut someone on Sunday to do so. The best guess is that player released is an offensive player given the numbers are uneven (26 offensive players, 25 defensive players, three specialists) right now. 

Anyways, on to the initial roster:

QUARTERBACKS (2): Mitch Trubisky, Chase Daniel

The Bears had roster needs elsewhere, so keeping Tyler Bray as a third quarterback wasn’t viable. Trubisky and Matt Nagy like Bray’s presence and knowledge of the offense, but Daniel can provide a similar resource for Trubisky while being his backup. 

RUNNING BACKS (4): Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, Benny Cunningham, Michael Burton

The Bears will keep a fullback (Burton), and presumably will try to get undrafted free agent Ryan Nall — who had a strong preseason — onto their practice squad. This is one fo the team’s deepest positions, though, so carrying a fourth true running back like Nall (even if he did gets some reps at fullback on Thursday) might’ve been too much of a luxury for the Bears. 

WIDE RECEIVERS (6): Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Kevin White, Javon Wims, Josh Bellamy

The Bears indeed keep six receivers, with Wims’ strong preseason solidifying his spot. Marlon Brown, who did get some first-team work during the preseason, was placed on injured reserve. 

TIGHT ENDS (5): Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen, Dion Sims, Ben Braunecker, Daniel Brown

Braunecker and Brown are key special teams contributors and were likely to make the roster even if Adam Shaheen didn’t suffer a foot/ankle injury, the severity of which isn't known yet.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9): Charles Leno, Eric Kush, Cody Whitehair, Kyle Long, Bobby Massie, James Daniels, Bradley Sowell, Rashaad Coward, Hroniss Grasu

Grasu making the cut is interesting given he can only play center, but it could be a sign the Bears aren’t quite ready for Daniels to play center if something were to happen to Whitehair. Grasu could be the odd man out to make room for Mack or a waiver claim. Coward making the roster is quite an accomplishment for him and offensive line coach Harry Hiestand after he converted from defensive line earlier this year. 

Offense total: 26

DEFENSIVE LINE (5): Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Jonathan Bullard, Roy Robertson-Harris, Bilal Nichols

John Jenkins played plenty during the preseason and is a natural backup for Goldman as a nose tackle, but defensive line coach Jay Rodgers values versatility with his players and needs elsewhere took precedent over carrying a sixth defensive lineman. 

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (6): Khalil Mack, Leonard Floyd, Sam Acho, Aaron Lynch, Kylie Fitts, Isaiah Irving

The acquisition of Mack — who is now the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history — squeezed out Kasim Edebali from the roster. Lynch, despite not playing in a preseason game, made the cut and could still have some upside as a depth piece going forward. This group is a whole lot deeper than it was on Friday, to say the least. Six outside linebackers may be a little too rich, especially with Mack in the fold, so there could be some movement here on Sunday. 

INSIDE LINEBACKER (4): Danny Trevathan, Nick Kwiatkoski, Roquan Smith, Joel Iyiegbuniwe

It came as a mild surprise that veteran reserve/special teamer John Timu was cut, but the Bears will move forward with a group of players here that features three (Trevathan, Kwiatkoski, Smith) who realistically can start, so there’s still good depth. 

CORNERBACK (6): Prince Amukamara, Kyle Fuller, Bryce Callahan, Sherrick McManis, Kevin Toliver II, Marcus Cooper

Another mild surprise here was the Bears cutting Cre’von LeBlanc and keeping Toliver and Cooper. Cooper was banged up hadn’t played this preseason since a rough showing against the Cincinnati Bengals; Toliver showed some promise, though, after signing as an undrafted free agent out of LSU. The Bears could still address their cornerback depth through the waiver wire on Sunday. 

SAFETY (4): Eddie Jackson, Adrian Amos, Deon Bush, DeAndre Houston-Carson

The Bears traded Deiondre’ Hall — their 2016 fourth-round pick who will be suspended for Week 1 — to the Philadelphia Eagles, and will keep Houston-Carson despite him being unlikely to play in Green Bay due to a broken arm. 

Defense total: 25

SPECIALISTS (3): Cody Parkey, Pat O’Donnell, Patrick Scales

O’Donnell fended off a challenge from undrafted free agent Ryan Winslow and will return as the Bears’ punter. 

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