If the Chicago Bears could, they’d keep every player on their roster from OTAs to the end of Week 18. But they can’t. By 3 p.m. on Tuesday, the team will need to trim their roster from the 91 players they carried throughout the summer to 53.
‘It’s a big emotional swing, because the way I feel, anytime you’re telling someone no and they worked as hard as they worked, that’s a big deal,” said defensive coordinator Alan Williams. “So right now I do care about people. This is a people business.”
The Bears began making their cuts in earnest on Sunday night when they released backup quarterback P.J. Walker and 2021 first-round draft pick Alex Leatherwood. Per several reports, the team made more moves on Monday, and those reports will continue to trickle out up to Tuesday’s deadline.
We’ll track all those moves here, so bookmark this page in your browser– or keep it open and refresh it on your phone– if you want to follow along.
P.J. WALKER - QUARTERBACK
The Bears gave Walker a two-year contract and over $2 million in guaranteed money this offseason to act as Justin Fields’ primary backup, but he never got in a groove over the summer program. Walker was underwhelming in most practices and preseason games– except for the preseason finale when he was playing against the Bills’ third and fourth stringers. The move was an early indication that the Bears will value performance on the field over money they owe guys when picking who will stay and who will go. We’ll see if that trend continues.
ALEX LEATHERWOOD - LEFT GUARD
The Bears took a flier on Leatherwood when they claimed him off waivers last season– meaning they also inherited his more lucrative rookie contract, rather than trying to wait and sign him to a cheaper deal. Things got off to a bad start when Leatherwood contracted mononucleosis and missed around two months before he really got started. Leatherwood never got settled once he returned and bounced around several positions on the line.
GABE HOUY - OFFENSIVE LINEMAN
The Bears waived Houy with an injury designation on Sunday night. The team brought him in as an undrafted free agent this year, and he was a longshot to make the roster.
DAURICE FOUNTAIN - WIDE RECEIVER
The Bears added Reece Fountain to their practice squad last October and he was a good training camp wide receiver. If this was last season he may have had a better shot of making the team, but with the additions of D.J. Moore, Chase Claypool and Tyler Scott, he had an uphill battle to make the team.
KELLEN DIESCH - OFFENSIVE TACKLE
Diesch was a UDFA for the Dolphins in 2022, and the Bears added him to their practice squad when the Dolphins cut him at the end of August. He never was able to beat out Larry Borom for meaningful backup tackle reps this summer.
BOBBY HASKINS -OFFENSIVE TACKLE
The Bears signed Haskins as a UDFA this offseason. Like Diesch and Houy he was a longshot to make the team.
LOGAN STENBERG - OFFENSIVE GUARD
The Bears claimed Stenberg off waivers at the beginning of August, and the presumption was that he would push for backup IOL snaps. He never made it ahead of Ja’Tyre Carter or Alex Leatherwood, though.
BRAVVION ROY - DEFENSIVE TACKLE
The Bears claimed Roy off waivers this August, but he never made much of a splash at camp. He’s played in 45 career games with 76 tackles, one sack and one interception.
MICHAEL OJEMUDIA - CORNERBACK
The Bears claimed OJ off waivers in Dec. 2022 and he made it onto the field for one special teams snap in Week 18. He had an up and down training camp with some great plays and some not-so-great plays.
NSIMBA WEBSTER - WIDE RECEIVER
The Bears claimed Webster off waivers after cut down day in 2021. He played four games that year as a punt returner, but didn’t make much of an impact. He played two games last season and caught two balls for 14 yards.
ANDREW BROWN - DEFENSIVE TACKLE
The Bears signed Brown off of the Cardinals practice squad last November to boost their anemic defensive line. The team loved what he brought as a nose tackle, even though he only notched one tackle in five games. Draft picks Gervon Dexter and Zacch Pickens, plus free agent signing Andrew Billings, made Brown more expendable this year.
D’ANTHONY JONES - DEFENSIVE END
The Bears signed Jones to a UDFA deal this offseason after he notched 14 sacks in his last two seasons at Houston. He didn’t make a big enough splash at camp to stick around.
DAVION TAYLOR - LINEBACKER
The Bears signed Taylor midway through August after they let other linebackers go. He never ascended the depth chart in his quick stint with the team.
BARRINGTON WADE - LINEBACKER
The Bears signed Wade on Aug. 8, right after they waived kicker Andre Szmyt and tight end Jake Tonges. Similar to Taylor, he never ascended the depth chart.
AVIANTE COLLINS - OFFENSIVE TACKLE
Collins joined the Bears at the outset of camp and took some reps with the second-string offensive line. With Collins gone it appears the Bears are ready to move forward with Larry Borom as their backup tackle on both the right and left side.
TRESTAN EBNER - RUNNING BACK
Ebner had a tough path to make the 53-man roster this year with the additions of D'Onta Foreman, Travis Homer and Roschon Johnson. He's chances to make the team were essentially dashed when he got hurt in the preseason opener and never returned to the field.
STEPHEN CARLSON - TIGHT END
For awhile it looked like Carlson had a shot to make the team as the third tight end and a special teams contributor. That went out the window when the Bears signed Marcedes Lewis.
ROBERT BURNS - FULLBACK
The Bears were never going to keep two fullbacks on their roster, but Burns was impressive throughout the summer. He could be a good practice squad candidate.
BRALEN TRAHAN - SAFETY
Trahan joined the team as a UDFA and made showed off some impressive ball skills throughout the summer. He could be a practice squad candidate.
NATHAN PETERMAN - QUARTERBACK
With Peterman and Walker both gone the way is truly paved for UDFA phenom Tyson Bagent to take over as QB2. The Bears really like the knowledge and mentorship Peterman brings in the QB room, so Pelissero's report that the team wants him back on the practice squad makes sense.
KENDALL WILLIAMSON - SAFETY
Williamson's best shot was to make the roster with special teams play, and he apparently did not do enough to earn a job.
ROY MBAETEKA - OFFENSIVE LINEMAN
Mbaeteka is a Nigerian player who joined the team this May as part of the International Player Pathway Program. He was a developmental prospect throughout the summer.
MICAH BASKERVILLE - LINEBACKER
Baskerville ascended a bit from unheralded UDFA to backup middle linebacker when Tremaine Edmunds was hurt. Another practice squad candidate.
MACON CLARK - CORNERBACK
Clark signed as an undrafted free agent this year. He was a roster longshot.
TRAVIS BELL - DEFENSIVE TACKLE
When Ryan Poles introduced Bell as a 2023 seventh-round pick, he described him as one of his favorite humans. For that alone, Bell feels like a practice squad shoo-in.
DIETER EISELEN - OFFENSIVE GUARD/CENTER
When the Bears traded for Dan Feeney, Eiselen became expendable.
TREVIS GIPSON - DEFENSIVE END
Gipson appeared to be in a tight competition for a roster spot with Terrell Lewis as each man made big plays in practice and in preseason games. Reports came out last Saturday that Gipson requested permission to seek a trade out of Chicago, which may have made this decision easier.
JALEN HARRIS - DEFENSIVE END
Harris was a 2023 undrafted free agent who was a roster longshot.
JOSH LUGG - GUARD
Another 2023 undrafted free agent who was fighting an uphill battle to make the team.
KINDLE VILDOR - CORNERBACK
Vildor improved from Sean Desai's defense to Matt Eberflus' and Alan Williams' scheme, but the additions of Tyrique Stevenson, Terell Smith and the emergence of Josh Blackwell and Jaylon Jones pushed him out of a job.
MYKAL WALKER - LINEBACKER
When the Bears claimed Walker off waivers, it seemed like he would push for significant backup snaps at the very least considering he started 12 games and notched 107 tackles for the Falcons last year. However, he never worked his way up the depth chart.