The NFL offseason has its ebbs and flows, immediately after the season coaches are fired and certain players are cut.
Then after the initial flurry of free agency more cuts come as teams add players to replace aging and ineffective ones.
Things tend to slow down a bit but after the NFL Draft then more transactions are made.
So expect this week for players to start receiving their walking papers after teams made picks over the weekend with an eye at replacing aging, overpaid and/or underperforming players.
For the Bears it also means some roster cleaning will be going on. However, it could be a little less than expected since the Bears had only five draft picks.
With the additions of Mitch Trubisky, Adam Shaheen, Eddie Jackson, Tarik Cohen and Jordan Morgan, plus a bevy of UDFAs, the Bears will have to make some moves to get down to the offseason limit of 90 (to be fair I currently count 88 on the roster, which has the draft picks but no UDFAs).
Which veterans could be turned loose?
For starters, all offseason there has been talk that the Bears would part ways with Eddie Royal, after two injury-riddled seasons with the team after signing as a free agent in 2015. However, the Bears didn’t draft a WR over the weekend and with the unproven Kevin White and the young Cam Meredith as the leading receivers plus the loss of Alshon Jeffery, Royal’s veteran standing could be secure.
However, the Bears added Kendall Wright and Markus Wheaton in the initial free agency period. Wright has a similar skillset to Royal and Wheaton offers speed on the outside and draft pick Jackson has the punt return skills that fill the role Royal did early last season. Royal is a prime candidate to be shown an exit this week.
In the running backs room both Ka’Deem Carey and Jeremy Langford have to be looking over their shoulder at Tarik Cohen. Cohen is small but fast and offers a lightning element to starter Jordan Howard’s thunder. Neither Carey or Langford were able to carve out a significant role behind Howard last season. Langford ended up with twice the carries as Carey but neither broke 4.0 YPC. Carey averaged 3.9 but only ever seemed to get playing time when Langford was hurt and he was a draft pick of a previous regime.
If the Bears had drafted a cornerback over the weekend Kyle Fuller might not be secure enough to make the roster out of camp. It was announced over the weekend that the team didn’t pick up the former first round pick’s fifth-year option. Even with the free agent additions of Marcus Cooper and Prince Amukamara Fuller still has a chance to have a role on the team. However, in the safeties position group Adrian Amos might be feeling the squeeze.
Despite being a pick from Ryan Pace’s first draft as Bears GM, Amos has never really nailed down a starting job. After two years of starting Amos has just one turnover, a forced fumble and zero interceptions. The more experienced Quintin Demps was brought in and could pair with rookie Jackson or the converted-CB Deiondre Hall. Amos could follow the path of former Bear Brock Vereen, who emerged from OTAs as the starting safety but ended up off the final roster.
The Bears will likely take four quarterbacks to training camp but things don’t look good for Conner Shaw. Not only is he still working back from a torn ACL but he has to compete for a spot with second overall pick Trubisky and Mark Sanchez for a back up spot. The Bears might actually buck modern trends and carry three QBs this season but it’s unlikely one of them will be Shaw.
Finally, when looking at the offensive line position, it’s tough to see where everyone will fit in. Fifth-round pick Morgan is projected at guard but the Bears already have a strong guard position with stalwarts Kyle Long and Josh Sitton along with center Cody Whitehair. Behind them are former third-round pick Hroniss Grasu, Eric Kush and Cornelius Edison. It’s atypical of teams to carry extra guards who cannot play center so it’s not clear where Morgan is going to fit in. This will be an interesting position of competition later this summer.
Which veterans could you see the Bears parting with now that the draft is over?