The end of August can be an exciting time in the NFL. Not just because the regular season is right around the corner. It is also the last true dash among teams to fortify their rosters thanks to final roster cuts. Every year there is a number of players getting released that come as a surprise for one reason or another. Smart teams work fast to take advantage when they develop. The Chicago Bears could soon have such an opportunity.
Things are happening down in the desert with the Arizona Cardinals. According to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com and others, there is a growing possibility that the team could soon part ways with former 2nd round draft pick Andy Isabella. After two forgettable seasons since being selected, his training camp hit a major snag when the receiver landed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list for two weeks. Now his job is in jeopardy.
“Coach Kliff Kingsbury just said the preseason finale in New Orleans is part of a “big week” for the 2019 second-round pick, which is never what you want to hear your coach say at this stage of the process.”
People may say it is hard to understand how things got this way.
Isabella was a stud coming out of Massachusetts. Over the final two seasons there, he over 2700 yards receiving and 23 touchdowns. He capped this with an impressive 4.31 in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine. There was no way he’d be a disappointment. Unfortunately, circumstances that weren’t always in his control have played a part. Consider this.
When Isabella was drafted, the Cardinals still had Larry Fitzgerald and had also drafted Christian Kirk in the 2nd round the year prior. Then going into his second season? Arizona made its blockbuster trade for DeAndre Hopkins. That ate into his opportunities even more. To add insult to injury on top of all that? The Cardinals drafted Rondale Moore in the 2nd round this year. Competition is a thing in the NFL, sure. Yet it could easily be argued Arizona set him up to fail.
Chicago Bears might benefit in giving him a shot
It’s not like Isabella has done nothing with the opportunities he’s gotten. Since his rookie year, he’s been targeted a total of 48 times. He has 413 yards and three touchdowns on 30 catches. For context? Last year, Darnell Mooney had 66 catches for 631 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie in 2020. That was on 98 targets. Isabella had more than half the yards and touchdowns of Mooney with less than half the targets. That should tell people he might be better than he gets credit for.
The bottom line is the Chicago Bears need more able bodies. Right now, they have nobody proven beyond their top two options of Mooney and Allen Robinson. Marquise Goodwin hasn’t played in the preseason and Damiere Byrd hasn’t stood out. Nor has 6th round pick Dazz Newsome. Only Rodney Adams has made some meaningful plays and even that comes with an asterisk because of some ugly drops he’s had too.
Is it so crazy to think Isabella can’t challenge for a spot?
No, it isn’t. The kid is still just 24-years old. He is no less talented than he was coming out of college. Sometimes it can be a numbers game on an NFL roster. All a guy needs is an opportunity. His style of play with speed and quickness would instantly appeal to Matt Nagy and this coaching staff.