Projecting the 2024 Bears Roster: Who Stays and Who Goes

Who will be around to assist Caleb Williams, Montez Sweat and DJ Moore as they try to elevate the Bears to contender status in the tough NFC North? Here's a roster projection for 2024.
Elijah Hicks (22), Jaquan Brisker, Keenan Allen and the Bears go through stretching during minicamp. Practices start July 20.
Elijah Hicks (22), Jaquan Brisker, Keenan Allen and the Bears go through stretching during minicamp. Practices start July 20. / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

Every year there are a few roster moves just before the start of Bears training camp, which starts early this year on July 19.

Last year they even had one big move just after camp started, when they signed edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue.

Their lack of cap cash this year and a need to get a contract extension to guard Teven Jenkins will probably limit the Bears and it's safe to assume their roster as currently constituted will be the one going to camp.

A rite of summer it guessing who makes the roster and who doesn't.

In the first year of GM Ryan Poles' regime it proved a difficult call at many positions because they could just about pick a player up off the street at any time and replace a starter with him.

Last year it became a bit easier but they did pull in a few players just before the season began to slightly alter the 53-man roster's look.

"Yeah, things shift and change as you go along," Poles said this offseason. "I mean, it's going to be hard to make this team now. It's going to be really hard to make this team."

There were only five drafted players and for an undrafted player to make the roster will require some extenuating circumstances. First, they would need to be players at a position where there is a lack of depth.





So it should be easier to pinpoint who makes the team when so few positions can actually change.

Here is a look at who should make the 53-man Bears roster and who won't.

Quarterback (3)

On the Roster: Caleb Williams, Tyson Bagent, Brett Rypien

Missing the Cut: Austin Reed

They'll go with three quarterbacks but it could wind up in a situation where eventually one of the backups must go to the practice squad. Rypien's value is he brings some experience with this offensive system from time with the Rams and Seahawks in the past. By now, though, the value of this in the quarterback room has been greatly diminished as all of the QBs have gained daily exposure to it. Bagent's four starts last year made him one of the backup QBs in the NFL with the most playing time last season. Reed looked like he has potential because of good arm strength but the inexperience is too great for anything but the practice squad at this time.

Running Back (5)

On the Roster: DeAndre Swift, Khalil Herbert, Roschon Johnson, Travis Homer, Khari Blasingame (FB)

Missing the Cut: Ian Wheeler

Wheeler is undrafted and not really a challenger for this veteran backfield group. The real decisions are whether offensive coordinator Shane Waldron will keep Blasingame because he didn't have a fullback on the roster during the majority of his time as Seahawks offensive coordinator. Also, Homer's value is largely on special teams. He showed very little last year in preseason or the regular season as a contributor to the offense but did tie for the team lead in special teams tackles with seven. Because one of their tight ends is Marcedes Lewis and he's 40-years old, they may decide they need the extra blocking insurance a fullback brings.

Wide Receiver (6)

On the Roster: DJ Moore, Keenan Allen, Rome Odunze, Tyler Scott, DeAndre Carter, Velus Jones Jr.

Missing the Cut: John Jackson, Collin Johnson, Peter LeBlanc, Dante Pettis, Freddie Swain, Nsimba Webster

Ultimately Jones will get on the roster because of his kick return ability. Special teams ability would always be big with the others hoping to make it but in this case any receiver who can develop a knack for getting open on extended plays would have an extra avenue to the roster because of the way Williams so often prolongs plays outside the pocket when targets initially are unavailable. The addition of Carter is a real plus for their depth on special teams and the receiver group because he has 108 receptions and six for touchdowns in his six seasons besides returning punts and kicks.

Tight End (3)

On the Roster: Cole Kmet, Gerald Everett, Marcedes Lewis

Missing the Cut: Brenden Bates, Tommy Sweeney, Stephen Carlson

Look for two of these tight ends missing the cut to surface on the practice squad because tight ends make for valuable pieces on special teams now with the new kick return rule, as bigger players who can run, hit and block. Also, with a 40-year-old tight end on the roster, it's more likely the fourth tight end will need to be No. 3 at some point.

Offensive Line (9)

On the Roster: G Teven Jenkins, T Braxton Jones, T Darnell Wright, G Nate Davis, G/C Ryan Bates, C Coleman Shelton, T/G Kiran Amegadjie, G/T Matt Pryor, G Ja'Tyre Carter

Missing the Cut: T Larry Borom, T/G Jerome Carvin, C Doug Kramer, T Jake Curhan, T Aviante Collins, G Bill Murray, T Theo Benedet

If they went on work displayed in the offseason, Davis' spot on the roster would be in question because he was a non-participant except for a couple plays in minicamp. They're paying him too much to be a cut victim, though, and have to hope he bounces back from whatever the injury was that caused him to watch the bulk of mandatory minicamp and all of OTAs. There is plenty of position versatility with the depth on the line, which was something Pole said he sought. Amegadjie gets a pass as a rookie and his status at guard might be more myth than reality because it's based on one season of guard play at Yale. He was really a tackle and will take very few reps at guard after missing all of the offseason work rehabbing from a quad injury. Borom might be their toughest cut because he's been around since 2021 and is in a contract year, but he wasn't a Poles draft pick and Amegadjie diminishes his swing tackle status. Pryor makes the team because it's always better to have experienced depth on the offensive line in case something bad occurs on game day. He has played both tackle and guard in seven seasons and has 24 starts. It's possible they could go with Curhan over Carter because he has three years playing in the offense at Seattle but the shaky status of Davis means they need someone else who can be a guard. And besides, Carter was a Poles draft pick.

Defensive Line (9)

On the Roster: DE Montez Sweat, DE DeMarcus Walker, DE Austin Booker, DE Jake Martin, DT Gervon Dexter, DT Zacch Pickens, DT Andrew Billings, DE Dominique Robinson, DT Byron Cowart

Missing the Cut: DT Michael Dwumfour, DE Daniel Hardy, DL Jamree Kromah, DL Dashaun Mallory, DT Keith Randolph, DE Khalid Kareem

The toughest decisions are between Randolph and Cowart and also keeping Robinson. So far Robinson has shown nothing in two seasons after a promising debut against against the 49ers. It's time to display progress because it hasn't been apparent at all. If not, Kareem has his shot at the roster, or possibly Hardy. It's the main reason an edge rush addition remains a possibility at this point but the addition could also be a 3-technique rather than an edge. They had four defensive tackles last year and assuming it stays the same, they would need the experience edge Cowart can bring from three years, including one as a starter for the Patriots.

Linebacker (5)

On the Roster: T.J. Edwards, Tremaine Edmunds, Jack Sanborn, Noah Sewell, Amen Ogbongbemiga.

Missing the Cut: Micah Baskerville, Carl Jones Jr., Paul Moala

The decision is always numbers here because the dividing line is easy to see in terms of experience. It's a tough cut for Baskerville because he plays with great energy and authority at practice but at 6-foot, 224 pounds, it's going to be difficult for him to crack this roster but a linebacker who can excel on kick coverage with the new rules might make a position for himself.

Defensive Backs (10)

On the Roster: CB Jaylon Johnson, CB Tyrique Stevenson, CB Kyler Gordon, S Kevin Byard, S Jaquan Brisker, S Jonathan Owens, CB Jaylon Jones, S Elijah Hicks, CB Terell Smith, CB Josh Blackwell.

Missing the Cut: S Tarvarius Moore, CB Greg Stroman, S Adrian Colbert, CB Leon Jones, S Quindell Johnson, CB Reddy Steward, S Douglas Coleman III.

Stroman might be the toughest cut they make on the roster because he produces whenever they've called upon him, but he rates just below Blackwell as a slot cornerback and they have depth on the outside, which he also can provide. Moore is a former 49ers safety who had stints as a starter but didn't succeed, so it will be difficult for him to dislodge Hicks or Owens. Quindell Johnson was on the roster last year and could be the beneficiary if they decided to go with one less offensive lineman, quarterback or running back.

Specialists (3)

On the Roster: K Cairo Santos, P Tory Taylor, LS Patrick Scales

Missing the Cut: LS Cameron Lyons, P Corliss Waitman

It's always good to have long snappers in the rolodex and that's what Lyons is doing in camp. He's trying to make a mark so they remember him in the future should there be a week when Scales is hurt. Waitman displayed a big enough leg in offseason work that some punter needy team should come calling. Good hang time and adequate distance.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven

Gene Chamberlain

GENE CHAMBERLAIN publisher Gene Chamberlain has covered the Chicago Bears full time as a beat writer since 1994 and prior to this on a part-time basis for 10 years. He covered the Bears as a beat writer for Suburban Chicago Newspapers, the Daily Southtown, Copley News Service and has been a contributor for the Daily Herald, the Associated Press, Bear Report, CBS and The Sporting News. He also has worked a prep sports writer for Tribune Newspapers and Sun-Times newspapers.