GM Ryan Poles insisted after the NFL draft ended that he was not done making tweaks to the Chicago Bears roster. More moves were coming. He’s been as good as his word. Already he’s added two veteran receivers in the mix in Dante Pettis and Tajae Sharpe. He also cut Jesper Horsted and brought in Rysen John at tight end. This is months before training camp is even set to begin.
One has to imagine more moves are coming, especially with other NFL teams likely to make extensive cuts later this summer. Poles isn’t likely to pass on such an opportunity with such a high position in the waiver claim order. It comes down to who may or may not be available. Ian Wharton of Bleacher Report broke down several names he believes could soon be in the mix for various reasons. Several of them should pique the interest of the Bears.
Chicago Bears may have more roster opportunities coming
Andy Isabella (WR, Arizona Cardinals)
“The trio of Brown, Rondale Moore and A.J. Green should allow Murray to move the ball down the field during Hopkins’ suspension. However, 2019 second-round pick Andy Isabella doesn’t appear to be in Arizona’s long-term plans after catching only one pass for 13 yards last season.”
Arizona’s approach to the wide receiver position has amounted to an all-out blitz. They spend high draft choices and lots of money on it every year. While this has led them to land good players, it has also made it difficult for others to find playing time. Isabella is one such example. The Cardinals haven’t been able to utilize the 2nd round pick’s skills and it feels likely he will end up playing elsewhere. He fits the Poles profile of young, fast, and athletic. He’ll also be pretty cheap to acquire.
Dyami Brown took one look at future first round cornerback A.J. Terrell in C3 and told his quarterback "this dude's got no chance, throw me the damn ball" pic.twitter.com/PLePGGMoef
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) July 8, 2020
Dyami Brown (WR, Washington Commanders)
“Brown entered the NFL as a speedster who was supposed to open up the middle of the field for Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel. Instead, he caught just 12 passes in 15 games and failed to reach the end zone.
Now with Carson Wentz running the offense and first-round pick Jahan Dotson joining the team, the Commanders have a stylistic choice to make at receiver.”
It might sound crazy to think a team would abandon a 3rd round pick after only one year. Then one remembers the Bears did exactly that with both Jarron Gilbert and Juaquin Iglesias in 2010. So the Commanders choosing to favor others over Brown after drafting a 1st rounder in Dotson isn’t a hard thing to envision. The former North Carolina standout might like reuniting with teammate Dazz Newsome in Chicago. He certainly has the explosiveness this new regime covets.
Denzel Mims (WR, New York Jets)
“What’s more likely than Mims having a sudden transformation is the Jets realizing they missed their window to get an asset for a player buried on the bench. Don’t forget the Jets were involved in potential trades for a star receiver all offseason. After drafting Garrett Wilson and re-signing Braxton Berrios, expect the fifth receiver spot to go to another individual who is a special teams contributor.”
It was a mild surprise the Jets didn’t trade or cut Mims last year, given how deep in the doghouse he seemed to be. Now with the arrival of Garrett Wilson, they have a formidable trio alongside Corey Davis and Elijah Moore. With limited special teams value, it is unlikely New York would opt to continue to the farce that they believe in him. Mims is 6’3 with 4.38 speed. His catch radius is excellent, and he flashed lots of potential as a rookie. He is also only 24-years old. That is precisely the sort of low-risk-high-reward idea Poles would champion.
Two things DB coaches are going to love about Iowa senior cornerback Michael Ojemudia (6'1, 200 lbs) :
1) One of the best run defending CBs in the draft
2) Excellent zone eyes pic.twitter.com/OtBepjinjW
— Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) January 2, 2020
Michael Ojemudia (CB, Denver Broncos)
“This offseason, the Broncos signed veteran cornerback K’Waun Williams in free agency and selected Pitt corner Damarri Mathis with a fourth-round pick. They could save roughly $800,000 by releasing Ojemudia, although they’d be left with a roughly $500,000 dead cap hit.
Teams needing a physical zone corner should be watching Ojemudia’s status carefully, because he is talented enough to play somewhere.”
Ojemudia handled himself well as a rookie in 2020, filling in for an injury-riddled secondary with six passes defended in 11 starts. Optimism was high for what he’d do in his second season, and then he was lost for the year to an injury after two games. Now he’s returning to a regime that didn’t draft him and added multiple new bodies to the position. The Chicago Bears did add new faces like Kyler Gordon and Tavon Young to bolster cornerback, but depth is always a big deal at premium positions like that. They found out the hard way last year.
Ja’Wuan James (OT, Baltimore Ravens)
“James did miss the 2021 season as expected, but the Ravens aggressively chased other options to ensure the right tackle position wouldn’t be an issue in 2022. They signed veteran Morgan Moses to a three-year deal and selected Daniel Faalele in the fourth round of the draft, which reduced their need for James.”
It is amazing to see where James has ended up. Between 2017 and 2018, he looked like one of the better right tackles in football. Then a knee injury ended his 2019 after three games, he opted out in 2020 due to COVID and tore an Achilles in 2021. He hasn’t played an NFL down in over two years. If nothing else, his body should be well-rested and healed by now. At 29-years old, he’s not too old either. The Chicago Bears have significant question marks at offensive tackle. James could give them needed flexibility at a favorable price.