Chicago Bears: Roster moves

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The roster shuffling continued at Halas Hall on Tuesday, with the Chicago Bears elevating cornerback Isaiah Frey and receiver Rashad Ross off the practice squad to the 53-man roster while waiving running back Shaun Draughn and receiver Chris Williams, in addition to terminating the contract of vested veteran tight end Matthew Mulligan.

The moves come in response to the Bears placing cornerback Charles Tillman on the season-ending injured reserve, as well as to the club’s struggles on special teams during its win Sunday over the San Francisco 49ers.

The Bears also added defensive tackle Roy Philon to the practice squad.

A third-year veteran, Frey spent all of the 2013 season as the team’s primary nickel corner. But he struggled throughout the season due to a broken bone in his hand and failed to force a single turnover. Frey started six games, producing 62 tackles and two pass breakups, in addition to generating five quarterback pressures.

Frey spent his rookie season (2012) and the first two weeks of this season on the practice squad. It’s unknown whether the Bears plan to make Frey the starter at nickel for Monday night’s matchup against the New York Jets, and it’s likely the club is continuing to explore options at the position.

Because of Tillman’s injury, the Bears will move rookie Kyle Fuller into the starting lineup to play opposite Tim Jennings. Still, the club seeks a proven player to take snaps from the slot corner position, as the Bears spend approximately 50 percent of the time executing out of substitution packages.

Ross, meanwhile, spent the bulk of last season on the practice squads of the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs after the former signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Arizona State.

Ross played in 26 games at Arizona State with 14 starts, and he caught 55 passes for 864 yards and seven touchdowns while also contributing as a return man (779 yards and two touchdowns).
The Chicago Bears signed offensive lineman Eben Britton to a one-year contract on Tuesday while adding receiver Greg Herd to the practice squad.

Britton
Britton
In corresponding roster moves, the club terminated the contract of vested veteran receiver/returner Micheal Spurlock in addition to terminating the practice squad contract of Roy Philon.

The addition of Britton signals the Bears might be concerned about the upcoming availability of center Roberto Garza and left guard Matt Slauson, who both suffered ankle injuries in the opener against the Buffalo Bills. Sources said Garza and Slauson have high ankle sprains, which are more significant than normal sprains, so there's a chance that one or both misses some time.

A five-year veteran, Britton has started in 34 of 50 career games with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2009-12) and Bears (2013). Britton has started 23 games at right tackle, seven at left guard and four as a sixth eligible lineman. Britton played in 13 games last season for the Bears, and started four when the Bears lined up with an extra offensive lineman.

Britton was among the club’s final cuts as it put together the 53-man roster coming out of training camp.

Herd came into the NFL in 2013 as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys, who he spent 2013 training camp with. Herd caught 165 passes at Eastern Washington for 2,343 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Spurlock has played in 67 games with two starts over seven seasons. In the season opener against the Buffalo Bills, Spurlock caught one pass for eight yards.

Bears add Gaines, Ozougwu

September, 24, 2013
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The Chicago Bears signed offensive tackle Roger Gaines and defensive end Cheta Ozougwu to the practice squad on Tuesday, and terminated the practice squad contracts of quarterback Jerrod Johnson and offensive tackle Jamaal Johnson-Webb.

Gaines entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Baltimore Ravens out of Tennessee State.

Ozougwu, meanwhile, played in two games with the Bears last season and contributed three tackles and another stop for lost yardage. It’s likely the Bears added Ozougwu to provide depth along the defensive line because the club could be looking to move defensive end Corey Wootton inside on occasion due to the loss of defensive tackle Henry Melton, who suffered a torn ACL on Sunday in the team’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ozougwu signed a reserve/future contract on Jan. 2, but the Bears waived him on Sept. 1.

Ozougwu's move to the practice squad could mean the Bears might be looking to promote practice squad defensive end Aston Whiteside, who spent some time in training camp also working inside at defensive tackle.

The Bears also held tryouts for defensive tackles Landon Cohen and Daniel Muir, according to an NFL source.

Bears bring back Scott, Johnson

September, 9, 2013
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LAKE FOREST, Ill -- The Chicago Bears signed offensive tackle Jonathan Scott to a one-year contract on Monday, and added quarterback Jerrod Johnson to the practice squad.

The club waived tight end Kyle Adams in a corresponding roster move, in addition to terminating the practice squad contract of guard Derek Dennis.

The team’s decision to bring back Scott wasn’t a surprise. As a vested veteran, Scott’s full $715,000 base salary would have been guaranteed had he been on the club’s Week 1 roster. Fully vested veterans had their contracts guaranteed for the season if they remained on rosters at 3 p.m. CST on Saturday.

The Bears terminated Scott’s contract last Tuesday before bringing him back Monday, a day after the team’s 24-21 season-opening victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Scott played in 12 games for the Bears last season with seven starts, but missed a significant portion of training camp and the preseason after undergoing a minor knee procedure. Scott returned to the practice field last week, and expected to be healthy enough to play against the Bengals. But the club released Scott prior to the game.

Scott has started in 35 games over his career. Adams, meanwhile, has played in 24 games with the Bears over three seasons, including Sunday’s game.

The club signed Johnson to the practice squad as a developmental quarterback on Sept. 1, only to terminate his contract on Sept. 4, when it added Dennis to the practice squad.

Bears cut Blanchard to get to 75

August, 27, 2013
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears whittled to the 75-man roster limit Tuesday by finalizing an injury settlement with quarterback Matt Blanchard.

A second-year veteran, Blanchard fractured a knuckle on his left hand during the team’s win over the San Diego Chargers. Prior to the injury, it appeared likely the Bears would try to keep Blanchard on the 53-man roster or waive him in final cuts with the expectation of adding him to the practice squad.

The problem is there’s no way a team can release an injured player without reaching a settlement.

“I’m just disappointed he was injured. I really liked his progress. I think we resonated that through the times we’ve talked here,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “I think everybody has an idea how we felt about Matt while he was here.”

Blanchard’s settlement makes him ineligible to return to the Bears until after Week 10. After the timeframe for the settlement expires, Blanchard can sign with another team. So it’s likely the quarterback would sign with another club after the length of the settlement -- which is commensurate with the time a player is expected to be out due to the injury -- has expired because he can’t rejoin the Bears until 2 1/2 months into the season.

In making the decision, Trestman said he hasn’t “even thought about” the timeframe for Blanchard’s recovery, adding that “we’ll just see how it goes as we move forward.”

When the team hit the practice field for the portion of Monday’s workout that the media is allowed to view, Blanchard wasn’t out on the field with the rest of his teammates. With the team going into the final exhibition game Thursday not expecting to play any of its starters, it’s likely the team would have played Blanchard for a significant amount of repetitions.

Instead, the Bears will divvy up the snaps to recently-signed quarterbacks Jordan Palmer and Trent Edwards, with the former set to start.

“They’re both really smart guys and knowledgeable. They’ve practiced well,” Trestman said. “I expect that they’re gonna do well.”

Blanchard spent the majority of the 2012 season on the practice squad.

Bears sign Martin, waive Quarles

August, 11, 2013
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BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears signed safety Derrick Martin on Monday to a one-year deal, and waived safety Cyhl Quarles.

Martin (5-10, 198 pounds) has played in 66 games with four starts over seven seasons playing for Baltimore (2006-08), Green Bay (2009-10), the New York Giants (2011) and New England (2012), contributing 37 tackles, three interceptions, eight pass breakups, one sack and one fumble recovery.

Martin originally was a sixth-round pick of the Ravens in 2006.
The Chicago Bears signed receiver Demetrius Fields and defensive tackles Corvey Irvin and Christian Tupou, in addition to agreeing to terms with cornerback Maurice Jones.

All four worked with the team during last weekend’s rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. In other roster moves, the Bears also released linebacker Dom DeCicco and cornerback LeQuan Lewis.

A rookie out of Northwestern, Fields caught 114 passes for 1,203 yards and seven touchdowns over four seasons with the Wildcats. Irvin, meanwhile, is a former third-round pick of the Carolina Panthers who has played in 18 games over three seasons with three teams (Carolina, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville), contributing 11 tackles.

Tupou finished his college eligibility at USC, but went undrafted and unsigned in 2012. Tupou played in 41 games from 2007-11 with the Trojans, contributing 53 tackles, including seven stops for lost yardage.

Jones played collegiately at Temple, and made 12 starts in four seasons with the Owls.

Bears elevate Harvey Unga to roster

December, 28, 2012
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. – With Michael Bush already on injured reserve and Armando Allen (knee) questionable for Sunday’s must-win game in Detroit, the Chicago Bears elevated running back Harvey Unga to the active roster from the practice squad and waived defensive end Cheta Ozougwu, the team announced on Friday.

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[+] EnlargeBrittan Golden
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhBrittan Golden returned a blocked punt for a TD on Thursday, but that didn't save him a roster spot.
The Chicago Bears have released fullback Tyler Clutts and receiver Brittan Golden on Friday, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Golden, an undrafted rookie, returned a blocked punt 22 yards for a touchdown in the Bears' win over the Cleveland Browns on Thursday.

"Well I got released today it was a long road," Golden tweeted. "Chicago thanks for the love it was an honor to be here. thanks for the memories."

Final roster cuts are being made Friday.

DT Collins suspended for Week 1

July, 19, 2012
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Chicago Bears defensive tackle Nate Collins has been suspended without pay for the first game of the 2012 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substance Abuse, according to an NFL spokesperson.

Collins will also be fined an additional game check.

Originally an undrafted free agent out of the University of Virginia, Collins signed with the Bears in late May after being a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars organization the last two seasons. Collins, who faced long odds of making the roster even before the suspension, will be eligible to return to the club's active roster on Monday, Sept. 10, but he can participate in preseason practices and games.

Brandon Meriweather's future with Bears

September, 4, 2011
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Good Sunday to you. As always, NFC North teams are making waves in the news stacks. The Chicago Bears made the first big splash of this round of NFL free agency, agreeing to terms with safety Brandon Meriweather the day after the New England Patriots unexpectedly released him.

Meriweather is 27 and a two-time Pro Bowl player. He is athletically in the prime of his career and one who presumably wouldn't walk into a dead-end job, which is what the Bears would seem to have with veteran Chris Harris and second-year player Major Wright locked into starting roles.

So I think one of two things has happened here:

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Video: Meriweather on the move

September, 4, 2011
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ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss joins Chicago's ESPN 1000 to break down the impact of safety Brandon Meriweather joining the Bears.

Brandon Meriweather agrees with Bears

September, 4, 2011
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The Chicago Bears announced they have reached a one-year agreement with former New England Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather.

The Patriots cut Meriweather, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, on Saturday.

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Taylor back at practice with Bears

August, 30, 2011
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chester Taylor was back practicing with the Chicago Bears on Tuesday, a day after he left the team's headquarters thinking he had been cut.

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Source: Bears, Clark agree on deal

August, 2, 2011
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BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears and Desmond Clark agreed to terms on a contract that could bring the tight end back for a ninth season with the team, a league source confirmed.

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