The Bears announced their 53 man roster, cutting 22 players. Some of the notable names include offensive guard/center Josh Beekman, safety Al Afalava, special teams standout Tim Shaw, defensive lineman Jarron Gilbert and wide receiver Juaquin Iglesias. Mike Tice favorite Richard Angulo was also released. The other players who were released were:
Quarterback Dan LeFevour, fullback Eddie Williams, receivers Freddie Barnes and Greg Mathews, tackles James Marten and Levi Horn, center Tim Walter, defensive end Barry Turner, defensive tackles Edwin Williams and Mick Williams, linebackers Kevin Malast and Kelvin Smith, cornerbacks Cornelius Brown and Woodny Turenne and safeties Quentin Scott and Aaron Webster.
Beekma, who started 20 games for the Bears, had a bad and disappointing preseason, and the Bears wanted to keep developing promising rookie offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb and guard Johan Asiata. They also feel comfortable using new left guard Roberto Garza as the backup center.
Afalava, who started 13 games as a rookie for the Bears last season, plummeted down the depth chart after struggling badly in coverage and struggled to consistently wrap up. Josh Bullocks beat him out for the last safety spot with his ability to play free safety and on special teams. And once the Bears added Major Wright and Chris Harris, Afalava became expendable.
Tim Shaw was beaten out for the sixth linebacker spot by Brian Iwuh, despite making a Bears record 30 special teams tackles. When the Bears could not find a trade partner for him, he was released. Shaw struggled on defense, while Iwuh impressed as a backup weak-side linebacker and is great on special teams himself. He recorded 61 special teams tackles during his time as a Jacksonville Jaguar and had 38 tackles and 17 special teams stops last season. Shaw should find work shortly with a team looking to improve their special teams coverage and depth at linebacker.
Gilbert, a 2009 3rd round pick and famous for his youtube video of him jumping out of a pool, didn’t show much in training camp and the preseason. He never showed the potential that made him a 3rd round pick, and his motivation and motor ran hot and cold. Matt Toeaina, Henry Melton, and rookie 4th round pick Corey Wootton made the team over him as reserve defensive lineman.
Juaquin Iglesias was Sam Bradford’s #1 receiver at Oklahoma and after a “redshirt” season, was expected to push Rashied Davis for the 5th receiver spot, but Rashied had one of the best training camps out of all the Bears receivers while Iglesias was slowed by a quad injury. He never was higher than sixth on the depth chart and his lack of ability to special teams also factored into his release. Juaquin should find work somewhere else, and a team like the Rams could claim him off waivers. The Rams lost Donnie Avery to a torn ACL and are in need of a receiver, so a reunion with his college QB isn’t far-fetched. Iglesias is a better fit in a West Coast offense as well.
What also played into Iglesias’ release was that the Bears kept 3 quarterbacks, 4 running backs, and 4 tight ends. Khalil Bell and Garrett Wolfe were in a dogfight for the 3rd running spot, but both played relatively well in the preseason and earned their roster spots. Both will focus on special teams, however with Chester Taylor entrenched as the Bears backup to Matt Forte.
Here’s how the Bears 53-man roster looks like as of now:
QBs: Jay Cutler, Todd Collins, Caleb Hanie
RBs: Matt Forte, Chester Taylor, Garrett Wolfe, Khalil Bell
WRs: Johnny Knox, Devin Hester, Devin Aromashodu, Earl Bennett, Rashied Davis
TEs: Greg Olsen, Brandon Manumaleuna, Desmond Clark, Kellen Davis
Offensive linemen: Chris Williams, Roberto Garza, Olin Kreutz, Lance Louis, Frank Omiyale, Kevin Shaffer, Johan Asiata, J’Marcus Webb
Defensive linemen: Julius Peppers, Tommie Harris, Anthony Adams, Isreal Idonije, Mark Anderson, Marcus Harrison, Henry Melton, Corey Wootton, Matt Toeaina
Linebackers: Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Pisa Tinoisamoa, Nick Roach, Hunter Hillenmeyer, Brian Iwuh
Cornerbacks: Zack Bowman, Charles Tillman, Corey Graham,D.J. Moore, Joshua Moore, Tim Jennings
Safeties: Major Wright, Chris Harris, Danieal Manning, Craig Steltz, Josh Bullocks
Kicker: Robbie Gould
Punter: Brad Maynard
Long Snapper: Patrick Mannelly