It may not fall entirely the heading of risky cuts, but the Bears on Saturday released wide receiver Marc Mariani, one of quarterback Jay Cutler’s most trusted targets, along with running back Jacquizz Rodgers, perhaps the Bears’ best special-teams contributor among running backs and the only Bears back with more than two years of NFL experience.
At the same time, decisions to keep tight ends Khari Lee and inexperienced Greg Scruggs, plus a fullback in Paul Lasike, underscored the Bears’ stated commitment to running the football.
Fox and Pace established last year that they were not wedded to “their guys,” whether draft picks or free-agency additions. They were not inclined to compound one issue by stubbornly sticking to it. And the mistaken perception that Fox disdains youth in preference of veterans was again contradicted.
All of last year’s six-member draft class made it through to the regular roster, with an asterisk for Kevin White, who was placed on the PUP list to buy time for his stress fracture to heal. The 2016 class was nine, and eight cleared the initial trims, with only seventh-rounder Daniel Braverman being cut but expected to be brought back on the practice squad.
Expect the 2016 Bears roster to remain fluid on through Week 1, the trading deadline and possibly beyond. Teams routinely are in constant search of upgrades and Pace has made it abundantly clear that the Bears would be aggressive once roster cutdowns made possible upgrades available from other teams’ castoffs.
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Other Bears roster cuts:
DeVante Bausby, CB: Had an opportunity and made some plays before injury setback and others (Jacoby Glenn, Deiondre' Hall) played better.
Daniel Braverman, WR: Little preseason game production after stellar days in camp. Nothing special on ‘teams, and slot receiver already deep.
Ben Braunecker, TE: Surprise find in minicamp but slowed by injury through camp; top candidate for practice squad.
B.J. Daniels, WR/KR: Bears wanted a kick returner but botched punt situation at Cleveland closed his small window.
John Timu, LB: Made enough plays last preseason but too many misses this year to beat out Jonathan Anderson.
Jason Weaver, OT: Youth and size make him a practice-squad gimme after some decent showings in camp and preseason.
Garry Williams, OT: Could play LT but Bears liked taller Mike Adams’ upside coming off back surgery.
Terry Williams, NT: “Swamp Monster” had moments this camp and last but too one-dimensional and not enough dominance vs. run to warrant keeping.
Khaled Holmes, C
Danny Mason, LB
Kevin Peterson, CB
Patrick Scales, LS
Shelley Smith, G