Cutting Back: Bears 75-Man Roster Option Means These Players Can Go
Numerous reports cite extensive discussion around the NFL about teams bringing fewer than 90 players to training camp for work and the merits of this are doubtful.
Pro Football Talk has reported the NFLPA proposed they bring in 80 players. This is serious if the NFLPA is proposing cutting 10 guys out of potential jobs.
The reason for this is there are now fewer preseason games so fewer players would be needed before the cutdown to 53 men, or 55 actually if you count the two practice squad players teams can promote each week this season.
The reason for the cut is obviously COVID-19 and teams would supposedly find it easier to cope with controlling the illness if fewer players were around with the possibility of spreading it.
This works both ways, though. With fewer players on the roster, if someone does get ill and it spreads then you need more players in order to practice.
So far it's just discussion and a voluntary thing if it's even real. And it's difficult to see how teams would benefit from having fewer players at training camp just because two preseason games are now gone.
After all, there are many more play repetitions in practices than in games. They've only cut out two practices and in the meantime have added four more practice days while doing it. Usually there are days off before and after preseason games and now those will get taken up by practices.
So just to get through practices might require 90 men. They need the players to take up practice reps.
Several reports are out now teams will decide to take just 80 men to camp or even 75.
If the Bears had to go to 75 players at training camp, here's who they could get rid of immediately in order to do it.
Thomas Ives, Reggie Davis, Alex Wesley
Eric Saubert, Darion Clark
Dino Boyd, Sam Mustipher, Dieter Eiselen
Trevor McSwain, Lee Autry
Keandre Jones, LaCale London
Xavier Crawford, Michael Joseph
The "whys" for the list are pretty much apparent. Most of it is due to lack of experience.
Mustipher was on the practice squad last year, but they have at least three veterans who can play center in Cody Whitehair, James Daniels and Corey Levin. Plus he might hav been on the roster largely because his former Notre Dame line coach Harry Hiestand was Bears line coach but Hiestand was fired.
They don't have a competitor on the roster for punter Pat O'Donnell. They can get by without one for Eddy Pineiro. Besides, there was enough kicking competition last year to go around for everyone for at least a decade.
Some of the non-cuts might be more surprising than the cuts.
I'd keep both running backs Artavis Pierce and Napoleon Maxwell simply because they don't even know who is the backup running back now and it could be either one of them or it could be Ryan Nall. It's a pretty even fight.
Wide receiver Ahmad Wagner isn't getting cut because you don't find many 6-foot-5, 238-pound wide receivers who were NCAA basketball players and drew 12 defensive pass interference penalties.
And outside linebacker Ledarius Mack isn't getting cut because he's Khalil Mack's brother. He might get cut eventually and land on the practice squad, but cutting him once should be quite enough considering who it might upset.