While the training camp roster is mostly set for the Chicago Bears, they certainly should keep their eyes open for further help if it becomes available. Here are some potential cuts and waiver wire options that may be available as the season draws closer.
Quarterback: Christian Ponder – Minnesota Vikings
Subtraction by addition seems like the fate for Christian Ponder. Following the drafting of rookie Teddy Bridgewater and the re-signing of Matt Cassel, the Minnesota Vikings seem to have a strong one-two combination to move forward with, making Ponder and his $3.2 million cap hit much more expendable. Despite his shortcomings in Minnesota, the former 1st round pick may find the Bears offense much more welcoming to his specific skill set.
Running back: BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati Bengals
Giovani Bernard is poised to take over as the starting running back for the Cincinnati Bengals. This leaves veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a tough spot, especially after the drafting of talented rookie Jeremy Hill. Green-Ellis averaged just 3.4 yards in 2013 and is 29-years old. However, he’s still a factor in short yardage situations, scoring seven touchdowns He would bring that value and experience to the Bears depth chart behind Matt Forte.
Wide Receiver: Mike Williams – Buffalo Bills
The Chicago Bears have built a reputation on helping once troubled wide receivers turn their career around. Brandon Marshall is their most glowing example. So a case like Mike Williams would not scare them away like other teams. After not missing a game the first three years of his career, the 27-year old has watched it all go off the rails. He only played six games last season and has endured a host of off-the-field problems. That is why Tampa Bay traded him to the Buffalo Bills. Even now his spot on that roster is shaky at best. If he gets cut, the Bears could land an young but experienced receiver at a bargain.
Tight End: Marcedes Lewis – Jacksonville Jaguars
Limited proven depth behind Martellus Bennett has a number of people worried about the Bears tight end position. One unfortunate injury and they could be in serious trouble. That is why finding another quality pass catcher would be a great relief. One name that has floated around NFL circles as being a potential surprise cut is Marcedes Lewis of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite pretty consistent production on an otherwise anemic offense, Lewis is 30-years old and coming off a season where he missed five games. On top of that, he carries a hefty $4.35 million price tag. That might be too much for the Jaguars to keep. However, given his two-way skill set of blocking and receiving, he would make a good risk-reward pickup for Chicago.
Linebacker: Kevin Burnett – Oakland Raiders
A massive influx of youth at linebacker for the Oakland Raiders has made veterans like Kevin Burnett expendable. While not a superstar by any stretch, the stats show that Burnett can be productive. The past four seasons he has not missed a single game, averaged over 100 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles every year. If the Chicago Bears are looking for more veteran help to fill out their linebacker depth chart, they can do a lot worse than Burnett.