<
>

Chicago Bears cut 20 players, but keep OLB Willie Young

Willie Young, seen last season, made the Bears' 53-man roster despite still working his way back from an Achilles tendon injury. Getty Images/David Banks

Most significant move: It’s a move the Bears did not make, at least for now. Converted outside linebacker Willie Young made the original 53-man roster despite rupturing his torn left Achilles tendon in Week 16 of last year, and moving to outside linebacker; a position Young never played before in his life. Young moved well in the fourth preseason game, hitting the Browns' quarterback on multiple occasions. Young still looks a tad out of place operating out of a two-point stance, but he worked extremely hard in camp just to reach this point. Perhaps the Bears still try and trade Young before Week 1 officially begins, but no matter what happens, Young is a success story. After all, Young was one of the only bright spots (10 sacks) for the Bears last season. If anyone deserves good news, it’s Willie Young.

The Bears also kept six wide receivers, including Josh Bellamy and Cameron Meredith. The club clearly feels they need extra protection at wideout with so many of them suffering from injuries – Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal, Marquess Wilson and Kevin White. The Bears have six cornerbacks on the 53 man roster as Bryce Callahan and Tracy Porter both earn spots. The inclusion of Porter is one to watch because he reinjured his hamstring in the third preseason gave vs. Indianapolis.

Inside job: The decision to release 26-year old inside linebacker Mason Foster is debatable. On one hand, Mason, entering his fifth NFL season, played sparingly on special teams in Tampa where he started 54 games from 2011-14. Reserve linebackers have to contribute on special teams -- that’s a given. It also costs the Bears more to keep Foster over John Timu on the 53. But Foster is a proven commodity at linebacker; more so than Shea McClellin or Christian Jones, who were both just okay in the preseason. Foster obviously failed to impress the coaching staff enough, but isn’t there a certain comfort level in having a 26-year old with 54 career starts and 341 tackles on the bench? Foster looked healthy (four tackles, two tackles-for-loss and one sack) in Thursday’s final preseason game. We’ll see where he ends up. And we’ll see how the Bears do this year at inside linebacker if McClellin or Jones struggles. Last year’s leading tackler, Jon Bostic, somehow made the 53 after spending a good portion of the offseason program and preseason banged up. We'll see what role the Bears have for Bostic once he recovers from his latest ailment.

What’s next: Expect the Bears to further tweak their roster. The first 53 is never the final 53. The Bears have far too many needs for general manager Ryan Pace to ignore. The Bears need to upgrade certain starters, not just reserves. There is a good chance several players cut on Saturday will resurface on the Bears’ practice squad. NFL teams can announce their practice squads beginning on Sunday. The Bears have the rest of the weekend off before returning to practice on Monday. Next week’s practice schedule is TBA.

Bears cuts/moves: OLB David Bass, OG Michael Ola, OLB Matthew Wells, WR AJ Cruz (waived/injured), QB Zac Dysert, WR Ify Umodu, NT Terry Williams, ILB Mason Foster, TE Dante Rosario, WR Rashad Lawrence, OG Connor Boffeli, CB Qumain Black, OLB Kyle Woestman, TE Bear Pascoe, LB Jonathan Anderson, DT Brandon Dunn, CB Jacoby Glenn, G Tyler Moore, TE Gannon Sinclair and David Carter. Bears place safety Anthony Jefferson on injured reserve and defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff on reserve/suspended by commissioner list.