Monday saw NFL teams reducing their rosters from 90 to 75 players and they will have to make final cuts this weekend, dropping from 75 to 53. All around the league players will be cut, not just because their performances are not up to par, but because others players beat them out. Often times teams can find treasure in other teams’ trash.
Bears general manager Phil Emery has been adamant in his desire to constantly upgrade his team, and if there are players available that could help, he will take a chance on them.
Here is my list of four positions the Bears could upgrade after finals cuts:
It has been no secret that the offensive tackle position is the biggest question mark heading into this season. Neither J’Marcus Webb nor Chris Williams have done much in the way of cementing their place on the team, and the Bears will likely look to see who is available once final roster cuts are made.
The likelihood of finding a left tackle that could replace either Webb or Williams is very doubtful given that teams don’t just let starting left tackles go. Despite likely not being able to find a starter, the Bears could find themselves a serviceable swing tackle, someone with the ability to play either the left or the right side in case of an emergency.
Next to left tackle, the safety position has been one of the biggest concerns of the Bears during the preseason. Second-year starter Chris Conte went down with an injury against the Redskins in the second preseason game and is still up in the air on whether he’ll be ready for the season opener.
Also, rookie Brandon Hardin was placed on injured reserve from an injury also sustained against the Redskins.
With the likely return of Conte, the Bears will have three players with starting experience at safety: Conte, Major Wright and Craig Steltz. Anthony Walters and Mark Legree are the other two safeties battling out for a roster spot now, but both lack experience at this level and the Bears would be better served to find a veteran that could come in a provide solid depth.
Despite having one of the best defensive ends in the game (Julius Peppers) and a first-round pick (Shea McClellin) on the depth chart, the Bears know just how important the pass rush is and are constantly looking to improve it.
While Peppers, Israel Idonije, McClellin and Corey Wootton are givens along the defensive front, the Bears still may have questions about Chauncey Davis and Cheta Ozougwu.
Teams with young promising pass-rushers may be more inclined to release a veteran and Emery and the Bears could benefit from another veteran who has paid his dues in the NFL.
With Brian Urlacher’s health in doubt, the Bears have been practicing with plan B, Nick Roach, at middle linebacker. Roach cannot fill the shoes of Urlacher but has played admirably in his absence.
Blake Costanzo has found himself taking reps at the middle linebacker position, but after Roach, there is not much depth at the position. Dom Decicco has been injured much of camp and does not project to be much more than a special teams contributor.
Much like the tackle position, it will be difficult to find another team’s castoff who is able to make a major contribution as a starter, but with it still up in the air on whether Urlacher can return, depth is the real need here.
Finding a veteran who is used to running a Cover 2 system would be a plus but a young middle linebacker could be someone the Bears could bring in as a project for the future moving forward.
Matt Eurich is a contributor to Bearsbacker.com. Follow Bears Backer on Facebook andTwitter for up to the minute news about the Bears. Also, check out Matt’s work onBleacherreport.com and follow him on Twitter @MattEurich.