Five 2018 Bears Who Could Be Cut

The Bears spent the offseason adding depth to almost every position. Which 2018 Bears will be out of a job because of that?

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There are still three weeks until the games start mattering for the Bears. In the meantime, they still have three more exhibition games (including tonight) to sort out the bottom of the roster.

With all of the depth additions the Bears made this offseason, a handful of players from last year’s division title-winning squad are in jeopardy of losing their jobs. Here’s a list of guys who have the most to prove in the upcoming exhibition contests.

1. Nick Williams

If you asked any random group of Bears fans to rattle off the 53-man roster of the 2018 Bears, Williams might be the 53rd name mentioned.

The defensive tackle signed with the Bears a week before the season opener. He ended up being a healthy scratch in 14 games and recorded just one solo tackle.

Why he’s on the bubble

The Bears return all five defensive linemen that were ahead of Williams on the depth chart last season. Given that the Bears are likely to have just two defensive linemen on the field for the majority of their snaps, keeping six d-lineman on the roster feels like overkill.

Why he could stick around

The Bears didn’t add any significant rookie or veteran depth at the position this offseason. If they do decide to keep six d-linemen, Williams is the frontrunner.

2. Kylie Fitts

The 2018 sixth-round pick spent all of last season on the active roster but saw hardly any action on gameday at outside linebacker. He didn’t record a single tackle all season.

Why he’s on the bubble

The Bears are thin behind Aaron Lynch at backup outside linebacker. They could use another reliable bench piece, and so far, there’s been no mention of Fitts as someone who could step up and fill that role in year two.

Why he could stick around

Fitts’s competition hasn’t really stood out either. The remaining preseason games are huge opportunities for undrafted rookies Chuck Harris and Mathieu Betts to show that they deserve a spot over Fitts.

3. Taquan Mizzell

Mizzell was pulled up from the practice squad last season after Kyle Long was placed on injured reserve seven games into the season. Most fans should remember who Mizzell is, probably from shouting “why do they keep giving the ball to Mizzell?!” multiple times a game. It was clear Matt Nagy felt his offense was one weapon short, so he tried to see if Mizzell could be that missing weapon.

*Narrator: Mizzell was NOT that weapon.*

Why he’s on the bubble

Mizzell has switched from running back to wide receiver, which is the position the Bears have added the most depth at. Even if he were to switch back to running back, he’d still likely be the fifth or sixth name on the depth chart.

Why he could stick around

Injuries. If the Bears suffer a rash of injuries over the next three weeks, he can make the team. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

4. DeAndre Houston-Carson

DHC, a 2016 sixth-round pick, has been a staple on special teams for the Bears over the past three seasons. However, he’s been a total non-factor defensively at safety. It appeared he was making strides in last season’s offseason program before he broke his arm, knocking him out for a majority of the preseason.

Why he’s on the bubble

The Bears have had an infusion of youth at cornerback, which pushed the longest-tenured Bear Sherrick McManis to safety. McManis is a near-lock to make the team, pushing DHC to fifth on the safety depth chart. With as many as six cornerbacks set to make the team, the Bears might have no choice but to cut DHC loose.

Why he could stick around

It’s easy to shake your head at this comment, but special teams bodies are necessary. By all accounts, DHC is pretty damn good at it. Would the Bears risk cutting lose a talented young corner like Jonathon Franklin or Kevin Tolliver because of special teams needs? We’ll find out soon enough.

5. Nick Kwiatkoski

The fourth-year linebacker has started more games for the Bears than any other second-team guy over the last three seasons. Considering his experience and special teams capability, seeing him go would be a real surprise. However, it’s a move that could happen.

Why he’s on the bubble

The Bears have routinely kept only four inside linebackers on the roster since they switched to a 3-4 defense back in 2015. With Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan established as the starters, the Bears returned both of their 2018 backups in Kwiatkoski and 2018 fourth-round pick Joel Iyegbuniwe.

With Trevathan becoming a free agent at season’s end, it’s possible that the Bears are hoping that Iyegbuniwe can leapfrog Kwiatkoski (also an upcoming free agent) in the rotation and prove that he can start for the Bears in 2020. If the coaching staff has determined that Iyegbuniwe has, in fact, made that jump, then Kwiatkoski would be limited to a special teams-only role. On the other hand, they might not need him there either. This offseason, the Bears signed linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, a six-year special team vet.

Why he could stick around

Everything above could be true, and they could still opt to keep Kwiatkoski around. Having five inside linebackers is far from unheard of. I’d expect him to make the team, but the inside linebacker situation is one to keep a close eye on.


Featured Photo: Leon Halip/Getty Images

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