Projecting the Chicago Bears’ 53-man roster ahead of Tuesday’s deadline

NFL teams must cut rosters to 53 players by 3 p.m. Tuesday

Chicago Bears quarterback Tyson Bagent scrambles through the Buffalo Bills pass rush for a good gain during their preseason game Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

The preseason is over. The Bears had made it through the grind of training camp and all three preseason games.

Now, things are about to become real.

NFL teams must cut their rosters from 90 players to 53 players by 3 p.m. Tuesday. Some tough decisions will have to be made by Bears general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus. In past years, NFL teams had three waves of roster cuts to trim the roster down. Beginning this season, the cuts are all happening at once.

Up to 16 players who don’t make the 53-man roster can sign onto the practice squad, but they have to clear waivers first. The Bears could also be looking to claim players who other teams cut. Last year they claimed five players off waivers after the roster cut down.

It’s tough to predict what will happen, but Shaw Local is going to give it a try anyway. Here’s Bears reporter Sean Hammond’s projection for the 53-man roster.

Quarterback (3)

Roster: Justin Fields, Tyson Bagent, PJ Walker

Cut: Nathan Peterman

Undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent has made this incredibly interesting. He performed well in the preseason, far better than anyone expected of a Division II quarterback. Of the three reserve quarterbacks, Walker had the worst preseason, but he has the biggest contract. With any other position, the Bears might risk waiving Bagent and trying to sign him to the practice squad. But good quarterbacks are hard to find. They probably don’t want to risk it at all. Frankly, Bagent has looked like the second-best QB on the roster.

Running back/fullback (5)

Roster: Khalil Herbert, D’Onta Foreman, Khari Blasingame (FB), Roschon Johnson, Travis Homer

Cut: Trestan Ebner, Robert Burns (FB)

Homer should make the roster due to his special teams value. Ebner, a 2022 sixth-round pick, hasn’t shown much during the preseason and has been injured recently. The Bears list Burns as a fullback. They likely try to keep him on the practice squad.

Wide receiver (6)

Roster: DJ Moore, Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool, Equanimeous St. Brown, Velus Jones Jr., Tyler Scott

Cut: Nsimba Webster, Daurice Fountain, Isaiah Ford

Receiver Dante Pettis went on injured reserve Friday, which seems to make this a relatively easy decision at receiver. Jones will make the roster because he was one of the league’s best kick returners a year ago. He will probably have another shot on punt return too. Scott could supplant him in either one of those jobs.

Tight end (3)

Roster: Cole Kmet, Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis

Cut: Stephen Carlson, Lachlan Pitts

Lewis is the best pure blocker. The Bears will probably keep Carlson around on the practice squad, but they don’t need more than three tight ends on the active roster.

Offensive line (9)

Roster: Braxton Jones, Teven Jenkins, Cody Whitehair, Nate Davis, Darnell Wright, Lucas Patrick, Larry Borom, Dieter Eiselen, Alex Leatherwood

Cut: Ja’Tyre Carter, Doug Kramer, Kellen Diesch, Gabe Houy, Aviante Collins, Robert Haskins, Josh Lugg, Roy Mbaeteka, Logan Stenberg

Jenkins could be a candidate for IR, but the team has to put him on the active roster first. Backups ideally can play multiple spots. That’s what gives Patrick, Borom, Eiselen and Leatherwood a good shot to make the roster. Carter, Kramer and Diesch would be likely candidates for the practice squad. It’s worth wondering how long the Bears want to keep the Leatherwood experiment going.

Defensive line (9)

Roster: Yannick Ngakoue, DeMarcus Walker, Justin Jones, Andrew Billings, Gervon Dexter Sr., Zacch Pickens, Dominique Robinson, Terrell Lewis, Rasheem Green

Cut: Trevis Gipson, Andrew Brown, Bravvion Roy, Travis Bell, Jalen Harris, D’Anthony Jones

The Bears have reportedly agreed to let Gipson seek a trade. He is buried on the depth chart and doesn’t seem likely to make the team. Green and Lewis have earned spots with their play in practice and during the preseason. Jones, Billings, Dexter and Pickens would give the Bears a nice rotation at defensive tackle.

Linebacker (6)

Roster: Tremaine Edmunds, T.J. Edwards, Jack Sanborn, Dylan Cole, Noah Sewell, Micah Baskerville

Cuts: DeMarquis Gates, Davion Taylor, Barrington Wade, Mykal Walker

Linebacker often makes up the bulk of the special teams tacklers. Cole and Sewell will be key participants on special teams. Cole has been injured much of training camp. Sewell had a concerning leg injury during Saturday’s game, so his status moving forward is unclear. Gates is ahead of Baskerville on the official depth chart, but Gates has also been injured much of camp. Baskerville, an undrafted rookie out of LSU, is healthy and available.

Cornerback (5)

Roster: Jaylon Johnson, Tyrique Stevenson, Kyler Gordon, Josh Blackwell, Terell Smith

Cuts: Kindle Vildor, Jaylon Jones, Michael Ojemudia, Greg Stroman Jr., Macon Clark

The writing is on the wall for Vildor, who this Bears regime didn’t draft. Even though he has started 22 games for the organization, he’s currently buried on the depth chart. The Bears love Blackwell on special teams. Smith should be a quality backup with starting potential.

Safety (4)

Roster: Eddie Jackson, Jaquan Brisker, Elijah Hicks, A.J. Thomas

Cuts: Kendall Williamson, Bralen Trahan

Hicks and Thomas started in place of Jackson and Brisker during the final preseason game. The Bears love Hicks on special teams too. They should look to keep Williamson, a seventh-round draft pick in April, on the practice squad.

Special teams (3)

Roster: Cairo Santos (K), Trenton Gill (P), Patrick Scales (LS)

Cuts: None

No surprises here. The Bears cut local kicker Andre Szmyt earlier during camp. They could look to find an emergency kicker for the practice squad.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.