Chicago Bears trim fat, bigger cuts coming

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Former Chicago Bears DT Nate Collins

The Chicago Bears cut the required amount of players to get the roster down to 75. The initial cut usually involves players that had little to no chance of making the team, or were let go with the hopes of latching on elsewhere.

The final day of roster reckoning is August 30. Rosters will have to be down to 53 by 4p.m. ET.

There were a couple of surprise cuts, but the biggest news will come Saturday afternoon.

The players that stood out from the initial cuts are defensive backs Isaiah Frey and Craig Steltz, defensive tackle Nate Collins, linebacker/special teams ace Jordan Senn, running back Michael Ford, and quarterback Jordan Palmer. Palmer is interesting because he signed with the Buffalo Bills shortly after being waived. Chicago welcomes Buffalo to Soldier Field Week 1.

Steltz, Frey, and Senn were all going to make the team based on their contributions to special teams. Seen was specifically signed in the offseason to help solidify that phase. Senn’s cut signifies free agent rookie Christian Jones’ spot on the Chicago Bears for at least one more game, and probably on the team. Steltz had also been one of the better players on special teams. The safety position is a mess, as well and his roster spot felt a little safer than others because he plays that position.

Nate Collins was coming back from a torn ACL. His cut means the Bears trust rookie defensive tackles Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton to back up Stephen Paea and Jeremiah Ratliff. Collins should catch on to another team sooner than later. That extra spot on the defensive line appears to be set for a defensive end. Trevor Scott and Austin Lane will battle for what appears to be the fifth DE spot. LaMarr Houston is also versatile enough to kick inside a the tackle position in a pinch, so a healing Collins wasn’t seen as a commodity.

Thursday’s preseason finale at Cleveland will dictate who will be the depth/special teamers for the Chicago Bears. Position battles such as the one at safety are still not set, but the grouping of players for the position appear to be set with Ryan Mundy, Chris Conte, Brock Vereen and Danny McCray.

Thursday will also be a time to watch Shea McClellin. If he does not play the majority of the game to get the reps he desperately needs, than it would be hard to imagine him making the roster. McClellin not making this team would be a huge indictment on Chicago Bears General Manager Phil Emery. With Frey’s release, only two players remain on the roster from the Bears’ 2012 NFL Draft class.

The third wide receiver battle will be somewhat important to watch. Santonio Holmes, Josh Morgan and Armanti Edwards will have to wow working with rookie quarterback David Fales. Dale Moss is the darkest of darkhorses to win that battle.

If WR/KR Chris Williams plays, he will be the primary returner for the Chicago Bears. Their depth past him is clearly non-existent, so his participation is crucial. Chicago cut recently signed KR Darius Reynaud, so veteran returner Michael Spurlock appears to be safe…unless Santonio Holmes performs well returning punts.

This is the last chance for players to make an impression and continue their dream of playing on Sundays in the NFL. Good luck and hope to not see your name on the waiver wire this weekend.

Jeff is a production assistant @120Sports and contributor to hockey, football, and baseball for The Sports Bank. Follow him on Twitter @skcih_ffej.

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