LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The writing had been on the wall for Trevis Gipson since early in Bears training camp. The Tulsa product opened August further down the depth chart than many expected, and try as he might, Gipson just couldn't scratch and claw his way off the roster bubble.
Gipson's fight to make the 53-man roster ended Tuesday when the Bears waived the fourth-year defensive end on cutdown day.
Two years ago, Gipson recorded a seven-sack season as a 3-4 outside linebacker. But his transition to a 4-3 defensive end in new head coach Matt Eberflus' defense didn't yield the desired production, and general manager Ryan Poles felt it was time for Gipson to get a fresh start on a team with a scheme that fits his skill set.
"In terms of Gipson, love that kid. It was more of a fit thing, scheme fit," Pole said Wednesday at Halas Hall. "I think his success came in a different scheme. We had a great conversation yesterday. I'm excited to see where he goes and what he does."
"I don’t think he fell short, I’ll just say that with us, like Ryan touched on, he had his most production in a 34 scheme versus a 4-3," assistant general manager Ian Cunningham echoed. "He did a lot for us, just in terms of the leadership and who he was, showed up every day. We just wanted the best situation for him, and ultimately that was the decision we came to."
The Bears trimmed their roster to 53 players Tuesday, with five defensive ends making the initial cut over Gipson. One of those five, Terrell Lewis, didn't last long. The Bears waived Lewis on Wednesday morning to open up a spot for Khalid Kareem, who they claimed off waivers from the Indianapolis Colts.
The end of Gipson's Bears tenure was strange.
The Bears traded Robert Quinn midway through last season and pointed to their belief in Gipson as a reason they felt they could cut bait with the veteran edge rusher. Those were unfair expectations to put on Gipson, and he struggled down the stretch, finishing the season with 30 total pressures and three sacks.
Many expected Gipson to be a key rotational piece of a 2023 defensive line that Pole is still rebuilding. But the signings of DeMarcus Walker and Rasheem Green pushed Gipson down the depth chart.
Gipson tortured first-round pick Darnell Wright on the first day with pads on in camp, but that didn't earn him more reps with the ones. Ngakoue's arrival nudged Gipson firmly on the bubble, and when the fourth-year pass rusher couldn't get more reps when Walker and Ngakoue were not participating, it was clear his time in Chicago was over.
Gipson was productive in three preseason games. However, most of his reps came against third-team offensive linemen, which didn't move the needle for the Bears.
Partway through the Bears' preseason finale, a report leaked that the Bears had given Gipson "permission" to seek a trade. Gipson did not comment after the game. After he was waived Tuesday, Gipson tweeted that he never asked for a trade, something Poles confirmed Wednesday.
"Trevis Gipson never came in my office and said that he wanted to be traded," Poles said. "So, just want to make that stuff clear."
Gipson went unclaimed Wednesday and is free to sign with any team he wishes. The Bears, meanwhile, will move forward with a crop of pass rushers they hope can be more effective than the stripped-down unit Gipson anchored in 2022.