LAKE FOREST- As reported on Tuesday morning, quarterback Matt Blanchard was the most likely candidate to be released by the Bears at the NFL’ s deadline to cut rosters to 75 players by Tuesday afternoon. The Bears had already let go of 14 players over the weekend. Blanchard fractured his knuckle against San Diego two weeks ago. The Bears were strongly considering keeping him as a third-string quarterback.
The injury changed all of that, and in accordance with NFL rules, the Bears had to offer an injury settlement in order to officially release the second-year quarterback. Blanchard was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2012. Although he showed some promise in his rookie preseason, the Bears released him as part of the first 15 cuts that year.
He was ultimately signed to the practice squad as the Bears decided to keep Josh McCown behind Jay Cutler and Jason Campbell. The 24-year-old took part in the Bears rookie minicamp in May and made quite the impression on head coach Marc Trestman and his staff. He got an extensive look during the full-squad minicamps and OTAs in June.
Once training camp began, Blanchard was expected to be a serious contender for a roster spot. He did quite well in practice and made the most of his opportunities once preseason began. In the exhibition opener against Carolina, the Lake Zurich native completed 15-of-18 passes for 194 yards. He engineered the Bears only scoring drive in the second half of that game.
Against San Diego, he sustained his injury on his only pass attempt of the game. Since then, the Bears added journeyman QBs Trent Edwards and Jordan Palmer to pick up the slack at the bottom of the depth chart. Initially, there was hope that the Bears would keep Blanchard and put him on the practice squad again as he is still eligible.
Due to the injury settlement however, Blanchard will not be able to sign with any team until at least Week 10. For now, the chances that the Bears will keep three quarterbacks on the roster are very slim. Palmer and Edwards are not eligible for the practice squad and are more than likely to be released this weekend.
Palmer will start the Bears’ preseason finale against Cleveland on Thursday night with Edwards playing the remainder of the game once Palmer is removed. Follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82