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Bears release Desmond Trufant

Trufant’s departure leaves Chicago in an even more awkward spot on the back-end.

NFL: Chicago Bears Training Camp Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

As cutdowns toward final 53-man rosters continue across the NFL, the Bears have released veteran cornerback Desmond Trufant, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

While a one-year, $1.075 million deal in the off-season didn’t lock in much, it was presumed the 31-year-old Trufant would be the Bears’ boundary cornerback opposite Jaylon Johnson, following the release of former All-Pro Kyle Fuller. A former Pro Bowler himself with the Falcons, Trufant had enough experience to be a complementary piece.

But circumstances can change on a whim.

Reports through the spring dictated that Trufant wasn’t doing much to separate himself from a crowded prove-it room of cornerbacks at Halas Hall. When he left the team in early August to be with family after the passing of his father, and unfortunately lost most of the time in camp and preseason to position competitors Kindle Vildor and Artie Burns, the end of his stay in Chicago was all but cemented. Waiver scouring will continue over the next week or so as cuts around the NFL are sorted out. This close to the regular season, it’s likely Trufant finds a new home very soon.

Trufant’s release means the Bears starting secondary for the 2021 season is now official. Eddie Jackson and Tashaun Gipson return as Chicago’s safety duo, Jaylon Johnson is the team’s hopeful cornerback talisman, and some combination of Vildor, Burns, and Shelley will man the other boundary the nickel slot and any additional playing time as depth. It’s not exactly the most inspiring group in a league where most offenses are pass-first, and most defenses play three cornerbacks by default, but it’s the bed the Bears have made.

In an ideal world, Johnson develops into a star, and at least one of Vildor, Burns, or Shelley proves to be more than A Guy. For the time being: Defensive coordinator Sean Desai has his work cut out for him.