When the Bears lined up for their playoff game Sunday against the New Orleans Saints only half of their starters were on the roster in their last playoff game.
It had only been two NFL seasons and 11 starters were different.
So it's safe to say they'll have extensive player turnover after a second straight 8-8 regular season and a second playoff loss under Matt Nagy, regardless of whether Nagy or general manager Ryan Pace return.
A diminished salary cap due to COVID-19 is likely to impact how many of these players return and how many don't. It's unclear how much impact this will have.
As former Houston Oilers and Atlanta Falcons coach once said, NFL stands for Not For Long.
Here are the players with the best chances of being on another roster or out of the league next season.
1. Mitchell Trubisky
If Matt Nagy wants to limit his offense, Trubisky is his guy. Trubisky doesn't read defenses quickly, has to operate in a bootleg-style offense because he only needs to read half the field, and no long appears interested in running when he must do it to move the chains. Perhaps he's been injured too many times. He's more into buying time with his feet for receivers to come open, and they never do or else he doesn't see them. Then he's sacked. His long passes usually remain off the mark and his red-zone decisions have not improved one single bit. Think of him like a video game player who plays the same game over and over and never gets better at it. He never did improve much this yea. They just dumbed down their offense to make him good enough to beat three bad defenses, and let David Montgomery do the rest. There can be no reasonable explanation for bringing back Trubisky. Whatever he provides can be easily found in a castoff veteran free agent, starter or backup who works for little.
2. Anthony Miller
If Miller had just gone after Chauncey Gardner-Johnson the way he did in a regular-season game, it's one thing. Doing it with the season on the line is a tremendously stupid move. It might not be enough in and of itself to warrant being sent out of town. However, when Nagy took part of an hour in a team meeting to show players how Gardner-Johnson punks players or harasses them to take them off their game, and Miller then told media during a Zoom press conference last week that Gardner-Johnson's bark is worse than his bite, the unsportsmanlike conduct ejection looks utterly destructive. Miller has always been a player coaches had to make excuses for to media. He had problems with different aspects of the offense in the past, overcame them to become productive but then would vanish at times. Finding an average slot receiver is not a difficult thing to do in the NFL. They already have a "Z" receiver in Darnell Mooney and he could even play slot. Riley Ridley might be part of the answer, or might not. Miller was a second-round draft pick so simply cutting him seems wasteful. At the very least, they might want to try to offer him up on draft day in a trade with another pick to move up somewhere within the draft simply to gain something in return for their investment. In terms of pure value, it's unlikely he'd ever garner something more than a fifth-round pick in a straight-up deal, and even more likely to bring back a sixth- or seventh-round pick. How many times has anyone in the league ever counted Anthony Miller as a key player to worry about on the Bears offense?
3. Javon Wims
The fight he had against New Orleans in the regular season counted as one strike. Strikes two and three came on one dropped pass in the end zone with no one around him in a playoff game. He hurt his team's chances in postseason. It's easy enough to look the other way one time after a fight in the regular season when a player has never been a real problem in the past. When they can't do the most basic function of their job, it's time to move on. This isn't a player vital to the team's success and as such is easily replaced.
4. Bobby Massie
Availability is the best ability. Veteran players who miss huge chunks of the season two straight years need to be valuable and fairly inexpensive. Massie has been a steady blocker but right tackles are easier to replace than left tackles. Massie has $7.9 million salary, which is not guaranteed next season and only $2.6 million over the next two years guaranteed according to Spotrac.com. So he represents cap savings as a cut victim.
5. Buster Skrine
The injuries to Skrine and Jaylon Johnson let the Bears get two young cornerbacks exposed to starting, so they have immediate potential replacements at a low cost. Sadly, Skrine's health appears a real concern. He has a history of concussions now, and last year the Bears let wide receiver Taylor Gabriel go after he had the same problem. In Skrine's case, his departure represents $3.3 million in cap savings regardless of his medical situation. He didn't make an interception in two Bears seasons and this season had a 125.7 passer rating against when targeted.
6. Roy Robertson-Harris
Like Nick Williams last year, Robertson-Harris simply seems to have priced himself out of Chicago. He played effectively as a valued part of a rotation for three seasons and is now an unrestricted free agent. Spotrac.com assesses market values to free agents and has given Robertson-Harris a market value of $8.2 million for next year alone. They're usually fairly accurate with their market assessments, and at anything close to this price the Bears couldn't come close to finding him a spot on the roster. Signing back Brent Urban and/or Mario Edwards as a rotation member on the line would be far more economical and they've been trained well by coach Jay Rodgers at the position.
7. Demetrius Harris
He didn't cost a huge amount at $1.65 million, but really brought back little in return and can be easily replaced by players on their own roster.
8. Cordarrelle Patterson
His contract is up and kick returners at $4 million or $5 million a year are an expense a salary cap-strapped team cannot afford. Think of it as a savings toward affording Allen Robinson.
9. Sherrick McManis
His special teams contributions were valued over the years but at 34 he has probably reached a time for the team to move on.
10. John Jenkins
He was an emergency stop-gap when Eddie Goldman opted out. The Bears have trainied Bilal Nichols well enough at nose to provide relief next season when Goldman gets a rest, besides playing defensive end well. Jenkins will be 33 next year, too.
11. Mario Edwards
The Bears would love to bring him back after his contribution this season. Some team using a base 4-3 is going to look at what Edwards did this season and determine he's worth paying far more to than the Bears can afford, and also would be a better fit in their scheme.
12. Rashaad Coward
He was counted on for depth when Germain Ifedi won the right guard spot, then didn't do a very good job of providing it when needed. He's an unrestricted free agent and there already are young players on the roster ready to be depth going forward. He was originally a defensive lineman and it almost would be better for him if he asked to be switched back and trained as a nose by Jay Rodgers on his original side of the ball.