After weeks of training camp and three preseason games the Bears have finally set their first 53-man roster. Note, this is the first 53-man roster and nowhere near the final 53-man roster (You may notice the numbers below only add up to 52... more on that in the offensive line sub-head).The Bears still top the waiver priority list and GM Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus will pore over the long list of players who were released today to determine if any– or how many– of them can help their team. More players will come in and more players will be cut to make room for them.
But for now, here’s where the Bears roster stands. Expected starters are bolded.
Justin Fields, Tyson Bagent
The Bears surprised by cutting P.J. Walker on Sunday. With Nathan Peterman gone too, the way is paved for Bagent to take over as the primary backup.
RUNNING BACKS (5)
Khalil Herbert, D’Onta Foreman, Roschon Johnson, Travis Homer, Khari Blasingame
No surprises here. Herbert will likely be listed as the “starter,” but the Bears will use a running back by committee approach this year.
WIDE RECEIVERS (6)
DJ Moore, Chase Claypool, Darnell Mooney, Tyler Scott, Equanimeous St. Brown, Velus Jones Jr.
St. Brown may still have a job because Dante Pettis went on season-ending IR. Jones Jr. will look to bounce back from a disastrous rookie season.
TIGHT ENDS (3)
Cole Kmet, Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis
One of the strongest position groups on the team. Kmet will act as a blocker/pass catcher, Tonyan can come in as an extra big receiver in two–tight end sets and Lewis gives the Bears a beefy run blocker to help on the edges when needed.
OFFENSIVE LINE (9)
Braxton Jones, Cody Whitehair, Lucas Patrick, Nate Davis, Darnell Wright, Teven Jenkins, Ja’Tyre Carter, Larry Borom, Doug Kramer
The starters are still in flux as the Bears search for their best five while Jenkins recovers from an injury that puts his Week 1 status in jeopardy. Will Whitehair improve enough for him to snap? Will Patrick improve enough in the coming weeks to earn a starting job again? Newcomer Dan Feeney hasn’t passed his physical yet, but when he does he’ll be the 53rd man on the roster and the 10th guy on the OL. The trade for Feeney made Dieter Eiselen expendable.
DEFENSIVE TACKLES (4)
Justin Jones, Andrew Billings, Gervon Dexter, Zacch Pickens
Dexter and Pickens may not be ready to start now, but it wouldn’t be surprising if each man commanded more snaps before too long.
DEFENSIVE ENDS (5)
Yannick Ngakoue, DeMarcus Walker, Rasheem Green, Dominique Robinson, Terrell Lewis
Terrell Lewis forced his way onto the team with his impressive training camp and preseason performances. Trevis Gipson’s reported trade request may have made the decision to let him go easier.
Tremaine Edmunds, T.J. Walker, Jack Sanborn, Noah Sewell, Dylan Cole
The Bears totally revamped their linebackers corps this year, and the first four guys were roster locks. Cole did not participate in much of training camp, but his special teams pedigree apparently earned him a job.
Jaylon Johnson, Tyrique Stevenson, Kyler Gordon, Terell Smith, Josh Blackwell, Jaylon Jones
Again, the top four were set long ago. Blackwell was a lock as a special teams superstar last season. Jones showed he can contribute in the third phase, too.
Eddie Jackson, Jaquan Brisker, Elijah Hicks, A.J. Thomas
Again, no surprises here.
LONG SNAPPER (1)
Groups on the team.