After a game in which they lost their starting center and linchpin member of the secondary, the Bears undertook a cluster of roster moves late Tuesday that, based on what did and didn't happen, suggest implications beyond the specific individuals involved.
What did not happen was the signing of a veteran to step in for Will Montgomery, placed on injured reserve after the veteran center suffered a broken leg on the third play of the Bears’ win Sunday over the Oakland Raiders. The indication then is that the Bears see Montgomery’s replacement already on their roster, presumably leaving guard Matt Slauson where he performed ably in Montgomery’s stead on Sunday. The other option is rookie Hroniss Grasu, who has been inactive for the first four games and likely to be active but not dropped into the starting lineup.
What did happen was the signing of safety Sherrod Martin, an indication that safety Antrel Rolle is a longshot to be back from an ankle injury that knocked him out of the Oakland game. Martin, who was with the Bears through training camp, appeared in 72 games with 38 starts over five seasons with Carolina (2009-12), the first two seasons playing for coach John Fox, and Jacksonville (2014).
Martin’s contract was terminated to make roster room for safety Harold Jones-Quartey, who stepped in and performed well vs. Oakland after Rolle’s injury. Martin also represents an addition to special teams; he recorded five defensive tackles, an interception and two special teams tackles during the Bears’ preseason.
The Bears also waived punter Spencer Lanning, a sign that Pat O’Donnell is likely back from the knee injury that sidelined him for the Oakland game. The Bears cleared additional roster space with the release of linebacker John Timu, who flashed late in preseason and was added to the roster for special teams but failed to grace the stat sheet on defense or special teams in any category through four games.
What also transpired on Tuesday was the Bears moving tackle Nick Becton from the practice squad to the active roster. Whether that relates to the health of left tackle Jermon Bushrod remains to play out. Bushrod has been hampered by a back strain and missed the Oakland game with concussion and shoulder problems.
Becton has been on the Bears practice squad for the first four weeks of the regular season. He has appeared in one NFL game with San Diego in 2013, also spending time on the practice squads of the Chargers (2013) and Giants (2014) and the Saints active roster (2014). He entered the NFL with San Diego in 2013 as an undrafted free agent out of Virginia Tech.
The Bears did enlist some depth at center with the addition of former Alabama and St. Louis Rams center Barrett Jones. Jones, a member of a Crimson Tide line that included 2012 first-round picks Chance Warmack (No. 10, Tennessee Titans) and D.J. Fluker (No. 11, San Diego Chargers), was taken by the Rams in the 2013 fourth round but has never started a game in the NFL.