Free agency, trades, and the draft. Those are the three primary methods for the Chicago Bears to improve their roster over the next two months. One offshoot of that is the likelihood that over the next 30 days, several players are likely to get released by their current teams—some for underperforming in 2021 but also several because they’ve become too expensive. The common term for them is cap casualties.
This can often be a solid pool to dip into, not just because it may feature solid talents too. It also allows a team that hopes to stockpile compensatory draft picks an avenue to sign veteran players. Cuts aren’t considered part of that formula in free agency. Precisely the sort of thing a build-through-the-draft GM like Ryan Poles would take advantage of. So here are a few names he could end up targeting a few weeks from now.
Chicago Bears may have notable cut players to explore soon
WR Jarvis Landry (Cleveland Browns)
He has consistently been one of the three or four best slot receivers in the NFL since 2015. A five-time Pro Bowler, Landry is still just 29-years old. Despite missing five games due to injuries and playing with an erratic quarterback, he still managed over 500 yards for the season. It sounds like the veteran isn’t happy with the Browns or their treatment of him over the past year. With over $14.8 million in cap savings possible by cutting him, most believe the two sides will mutually part ways. Justin Fields needs weapons in the worst way. Landry would be a great slot target that can take advantage of Darnell Mooney’s threat on the outside.
Jarvis Landry has 1 season left on his contract at $14.3 million.
🟤 Should the #Browns extend him? Trade him? Or outright release, as he has no guaranteed $$ left on his contract.
Landry’s 2021 season:
— Jason Pombo (@JasonPombo) February 22, 2022
C Mitch Morse (Buffalo Bills)
Poles said his goal is to upgrade the offensive line. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he leaned on a familiar face or two to accomplish that. The Bears GM was part of the Chiefs’ front office that drafted Morse back in 2015. He became a solid starter at center over the next few years and has since been the same for the Bills. Despite allowing just 26 total pressures in 19 total games, some believe the potential $8.5 million in cap savings might convince Buffalo to move on. He isn’t a star, but Morse would be an instant upgrade over Sam Mustipher in the middle for Chicago.
DT Sheldon Rankins (New York Jets)
One of the most important positions in Matt Eberflus’ new 4-3 defense is the three-technique defensive tackle. This is the designated interior pass rusher spot. This scheme functions at a high level when the person playing it can get to the quarterback. Rankins showed such prowess back in 2018 when he had eight sacks. Unfortunately, injuries slowed him in 2019 and 2020. Then last year, he never seemed to get going with a struggling Jets team. That said, he is still just 27-years old. The Bears will play a style of defense that is perfect for him, and the cost to sign him in the event he’s cut would be affordable.
God damn Sheldon Rankins pic.twitter.com/vGV45fQ5Mb
— Joe Blewett (@Joerb31) September 28, 2021
LB Joe Schobert (Pittsburgh Steelers)
A model of consistency for the past few years. Schobert was a Pro Bowler in 2017 and has topped 100 tackles in each of the previous four seasons despite playing for three different teams. Though he played inside linebacker for Pittsburgh, he is a better fit as a classic 4-3 middle linebacker. With the possibility that Chicago might shift Roquan Smith to the “Will” outside linebacker spot, adding Schobert in the middle would be a decisive step in fortifying their new trio. He is 28-years old with no significant injury history. Better still, he brings versatility, posting eight interceptions and 4.5 sacks in the past three seasons.
CB Bradley Roby (New Orleans Saints)
Though a former 1st round pick, Roby has spent a career living in the shadow of better cornerbacks. Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. in Denver. Now Marshon Lattimore in New Orleans. This makes it easy to overlook that the veteran is a good player. He is solid across the board. Reliable in coverage and steady against the run. Under normal circumstances, the Saints would try to keep him. However, their horrendous cap situation makes him a likely cut candidate. The Chicago Bears need somebody dependable across from Jaylon Johnson. They could do a lot worse than him.
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