September 22, 2021

Bears sign 3 free agents, release 2 undrafted free agents

The Bears signed three free agents Friday morning who had been trying out with the team during veteran minicamp. Defensive tackle Mike Pennel, tight end Jake Butt and offensive tackle Tyrone Wheatley Jr. all signed deals with the Bears.

In corresponding moves, the team waived two undrafted rookies: defensive lineman Thomas Schaffer and offensive tackle Gunnar Vogel.

Pennel (6-foot-4, 322 pounds) has played in 91 NFL games over seven season with the Packers (2014-16), Jets (2017-18) and Chiefs (2019-20). His signing might indicate that the Bears aren’t sure whether defensive tackle Eddie Goldman plans to come back to the team.

Goldman opted out of the 2020 season and skipped this spring’s offseason workouts, including this week’s mandatory veteran minicamp. Head coach Matt Nagy said he expects Goldman back at training camp in July, but Goldman hasn’t been seen publicly since the 2019 season ended.

Butt was a fifth-round draft pick by the Denver Broncos in 2017 out of Michigan. Injuries have limited him to only eight games in four season in Denver.

Wheatley played tight end at Michigan and Stony Brook before switching to tackle and playing in The Spring League developmental football league. He is the son of former NFL running back Tyrone Wheatley.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.