The Chicago Bears have filled up all 90 spots on their roster. So it appears for the time being that they have no other moves planned. Not unless somebody of considerable note becomes available. GM Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy are anxious to get into training camp to see what they have after several months of hard work. With that said, it would be misguided to say the Bears roster is likely set. That is to say all 53 players they plan to carry into the regular season are currently present and accounted.
Numerous times in the past few years, Pace has always seemed to find one or two names late in the process worth adding to the mix. Typically these are players who are cut by their original teams for varying reasons. Most often because they’re too expensive or were just pushed out by tough competition or new coaching staffs. Either way, one man’s trash etc. So who are some potential names for the Bears to watch out for this time around?
Players on the chopping block the Chicago Bears should watch
Chad Kelly (QB, Indianapolis Colts)
A young man who’s had a lot of growing up to do since the end of his college days at Ole Miss. The nephew of the great Jim Kelly, Chad Kelly features a rocket right arm, good accuracy, and a swagger necessary for NFL quarterbacks. He just hasn’t been able to stay out of trouble off the field. Thankfully he seems to have matured somewhat, but his future in Indianapolis was put in question after the team signed Philip Rivers and then drafted Jacob Eason. Odds are he is on his way out. Still just 26-years old, the Bears could view him as a much more talented #3 than Tyler Bray. One who still has starter upside.
Gus Edwards (RB, Baltimore Ravens)
Plenty of Bears fans have reservations about the current setup at running back. David Montgomery is the starter but the depth behind him is an issue. Tarik Cohen is a nice gimmick back but isn’t exactly a top #2. Ryan Nall has never shown much in his limited opportunities. This team could use some proven depth. Gus Edwards is trapped in a log jam in Baltimore who have Mark Ingram and just drafted J.K. Dobbins in the 2nd round. Despite averaging over five years per carry in two seasons, the team may see him as a luxury given his lack of pass-catching prowess. If the Bears want to secure a quality ball carrier for cheap, this is a name they need to watch.
Will Dissly (TE, Seattle Seahawks)
After signing Greg Olsen in free agency and drafting Colby Parkinson, the Seahawks have become somewhat flushed with options at tight end. This is tough for Dissly. He looked like a potential breakout star in 2019 with 284 yards and four touchdowns through the first six games of the season. Then he tore his Achilles. It was brutal timing. Now the 23-year old might have to find work elsewhere. Given how starved the Bears are for options at tight end, adding him to the mix with Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet would suddenly give them a glut of options. Not to mention add more potential long-term value.
Kenny Stills (WR, Houston Texans)
In case people weren’t clued in already, the Bears have made it a point to add more speed to their wide receiver room this offseason. They drafted Darnell Mooney in the 5th round, followed by signing veteran Ted Ginn Jr. Explosive plays were a constant problem for them last year. Kenny Stills is a name fans might remember. Back in 2015, the Bears came close to trading for him before the Saints sent him to Miami instead. Then last season he was shipped to the Texans as part of the Laremy Tunsil trade. This offseason Houston added both Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb, making the 28-year old’s $7 million cap hit look expendable. Despite this, the receiver has averaged at least 14 yards per catch the past three seasons and would add more firepower to the Bears’ vertical attack.
Gabe Jackson (OG, Las Vegas Raiders)
Most would agree that the last lingering concern with the Bears roster going into this season is the offensive line. They didn’t really do anything significant aside from a couple of cheap veteran additions (Germain Ifedi and Jason Spriggs) along with two 7th round picks (Arlington Hambright and Lachavious Simmons). They have a noticeable hole at right guard that needs filling. Somebody like Gabe Jackson would be perfect. The guy is a powerhouse in the run game and has been a steady force up front for years now. However, he’s been surrounded by trade rumors the past few months as the Raiders continue to overhaul their offense. He’d slide into the starting spot and be an immediate contributor for Chicago.
Avery Williamson (ILB, New York Jets)
One area of the Bears roster that took a serious hit people haven’t talked about is inside linebacker. Nick Kwiatkoski and Kevin Pierre-Louis, two excellent backups last season, both left for more lucrative gigs elsewhere. It’s put the depth behind Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan in question. Avery Williamson was a quality player in 2018 for the Jets but suffered a season-ending injury before the start of 2019. With C.J. Mosley returning, the emergence of Blake Cashman, and the arrival of James Burgess it has put Williamson in position to be cut, saving the team $6.5 million. His tackling prowess and blitzing ability would both be ideal fits for the type of defensive scheme the Bears run. Chuck Pagano is familiar with his work, having coached against him for years in Indianapolis when the linebacker played for Tennessee.