The Bears finished winding their way to the 53-man roster limit yesterday, and the moves probably aren't yet complete as the team will sign Amobi Okoye before day's end, provided he passes his physical today. And even after that, there could be even more action as teams sift through other teams' roster cuts. Also of note, today is the first day players can be signed to the practice squad.
So with that, let's hit the jump and take a look at the Bears' first 53-man roster, and the official base for the 2012 season.
QB: Jay Cutler, Jason Campbell
Nothing to see here, move along. Josh McCown would be a luxury, but with all the ticky-tack injuries just bad enough that the players can't play, other roster spots are needed far more than the third quarterback.
HB: Matt Forte, Michael Bush, Lorenzo Booker
While I thought Armando Allen had the better final game, I thought Booker had the overall better preseason and is a better special teams contributor than Armando Allen.
WR: Brandon Marshall, Devin Hester, Alshon Jeffery, Earl Bennett, Eric Weems, Dane Sanzenbacher
Seriously, I am never doing anything to irritate Dane Sanzenbacher ever again. I swear, it's like he heads the Sanzenmafia or something. In seriousness, Sanzenbacher isn't the special teams player that Rashied Davis or Devin Thomas are, but he might be a better pure receiver than the duo. And the other five were locks to begin with. Joe Anderson and Brittan Golden both hit the street, along with Terriun Crump; one of those three at least will hit the practice squad, if not two.
TE: Kellen Davis, Matt Spaeth, Kyle Adams, Evan Rodriguez
Yep, they'll be going with the "H-Back" role again. I guess we'll see if this edition works better.
OL: J'Marcus Webb, Chris Spencer, Roberto Garza, Lance Louis, Gabe Carimi, Chilo Rachal, Chris Williams, Edwin Williams
Eight offensive linemen, not nine, and they didn't keep James Brown, AJ Greene or Ricky Henry around. I'm pretty sure they'll try to stick Brown on the practice squad, but I wouldn't be surprised if he gets claimed either.
DL: Julius Peppers, Israel Idonije, Shea McClellin, Henry Melton, Stephen Paea, Matt Toeaina, Corey Wootton, Brian Price, Cheta Ozougwu
Not too many surprises here; Nate Collins is on the Reserve/Suspended list for his one game, but he'll come back after that. There'll be eyes all over this unit, particularly this guy listed third. Something about a first round pick.
LB: Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Nick Roach, JT Thomas, Blake Costanzo, Geno Hayes, Patrick Trahan
Last year they kept five. This year it's seven, partly due to Urlacher's injury concern. Xavier Adibi gave himself a good chance to make the roster, but Patrick Trahan played pretty well himself this preseason.
CB: Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings, Kelvin Hayden, DJ Moore, Sherrick McManis
The defensive backs experienced the most new players, and ended up keeping two of them, including one guy they traded fullback Tyler Clutts for - Sherrick McManis, a 2010 draft pick of the Texans. McManis is a special teamer, but has some skills and decent potential. The Bears did, however, do something they haven't in recent history when they cut both Isaiah Frey and Greg McCoy, this year's sixth and seventh round draft picks. Jonathan Wilhite also was let go. I'd wager they're trying to sneak Frey to the practice squad, but we know how this worked out last time...
S: Chris Conte, Major Wright, Craig Steltz, Jeremy Jones, Anthony Walters
Safety's always a puzzle, especially now as Brandon Hardin is on IR and Conte has an injury he should be recovered form in a week or two, but it's still enough for the team to add Jeremy Jones, at least in the short term - if he shows well in rotational duty, maybe he'll stick around longer than that.
ST: Robbie Gould, Patrick Mannelly, Adam Podlesh, Ryan Quigley
The only surprise here is they gave Quigley a roster spot while Podlesh recovers. Quigley isn't going to be around long term, and if he is, the Bears have a decent chuck of Podlesh's money to absorb, which won't happen.
As far as the practice squad which should be up later today... I'd predict James Brown, Matt Blanchard (as the de facto 3rd quarterback), Brittan Golden, Isaiah Frey, Jabara Williams, Greg McCoy, Jordan Miller, and Aston Whiteside, but we know how I feel about predictions. In fact, I'll be surprised if I get three of these right. But just saying, if they like a guy, they'll find a way to keep him around.
What are your thoughts on the 53-man roster so far? Who's the first one out in a signing? Who goes with Okoye's arrival?