© Mike Dinovo | 2019 Aug 29
Former third-round defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard, whom the Bears spent the 72nd overall pick on in the 2016 draft, is being waived, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports Saturday morning, hours before the NFL’s deadline to trim their rosters from 90 to 53.
The Bears cutting bait on Bullard is likely to be the biggest relative surprise their fans receive Saturday. He earned a first-round grade from some outlets, with a tantalizing blend of length and explosiveness that projected him to potentially become a dangerous interior pass rusher. But it didn’t happen in three seasons with the Bears, when he tallied two sacks, four passes defensed and one forced fumble in 47 appearances (five starts).
Bullard fell behind not only Roy Robertson-Harris but fifth-round rookie Bilal Nichols in the rotation at right defensive end last season and didn’t offer the sub-rush upside of Nichols at the three-tech spot where he was supposed to be best suited. Waiving him creates a little more than $200,000 in dead cap space this season. He is only the second Day 2 draft pick (second or third round) of GM Ryan Pace’s five-year tenure not to play out his rookie contract, joining C Hroniss Grasu (71st overall pick in 2015), a projected starter entering his second season before tearing a preseason torn ACL from which he never fully rebounded in Chicago.
With Rapoport also reporting Friday evening that fellow veteran Marvin Hall has been released, the Bears appear to be going with six receivers and only five defensive linemen to begin the season. Moreover, NBC Sports’ J.J. Stankevitz reports the initial 53-man roster will have only four tight ends, so look for the Bears to go heavier along the offensive line, keeping at least eight, and in their back seven on ‘D,’ where they’ll likely keep an extra linebacker and two extra defensive backs.
Here are the other Bears subtractions that PFW has confirmed and/or seen reported by multiple outlets in advance of the NFL’s 3 p.m. cut-down deadline:
QB Tyler Bray, RB Ryan Nall, WRs Tanner Gentry, Thomas Ives, Jordan Williams-Lambert, TEs Ian Bunting, Jesper Horsted, OL Marquez Tucker, Joe Lowery, DL Jonathan Harris, OLBs Kylie Fitts (former sixth-round pick), Chuck Harris, Mathieu Betts, CBs Stephen Denmark (seventh-round pick in April), John Franklin III, Clifton Duck, S Jonathon Mincy