Roundtable: Who should the Bears add to their 53-man roster

Ugh Waiver Wire thoughts Thursday
Chicago Bears wide receiver Tanner Gentry (19) celebrates with cornerback Sherrick McManis (27). Photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports

With final roster cuts coming in yesterday afternoon, each team inevitably released some great players. The Bears have the third waiver claim priority, meaning they are in good position to get some of them. Here are who our writers believe would be good signings for the Monsters in the Midway.

Tyler Kading:

Nick Novak

Let’s be completely honest here, Connor Barth isn’t a great kicker. Novak was cut by the Texans in favor of Ka’imi Fairbairn, which came as a surprise to most around the league. Novak, the veteran journeyman who has played for 6 teams since his career began in 2005, has a career 82.8% kicking percentage, including going 35/41 last season with the Texans. I think he’d be a substantial upgrade over Connor Barth, and one that could really push the Bears up a win or two this season.

Bug Howard:

I don’t think Howard is the best wide receiver available, but I do feel like he will be the best one the Bears could claim. Why? Because it would be great for Mitchell Trubisky. Howard was an undrafted free agent who caught 8 touchdowns last season from Trubisky at North Carolina. He also gained Tanner Gentry-level hype among Colts fans for his play this preseason. On top of all that, he gives the Bears wide receiving corp a much needed physical presence, as he stands at 6’4”. Kevin White is the only receiver above 6 feet on the roster currently, and he has never shown the ability to play like an Alshon Jeffery, as his game is predicated on speed. I don’t see any undrafted free agent wide receiver better to have long-term than Bug Howard.

Pierre Desir:

Remember when Pierre Desir was supposed to be the next big thing in Cleveland for a few weeks? While that didn’t work out, Desir has made another great showing in the preseason and it’s rather surprising in my eyes that Seattle cut him. Desir was ranked as the best cornerback this preseason by Pro Football Focus, as he only allowed 4 catches on him combined the entire time. For a group as weak as the Bears secondary is, bringing in a big corner like Desir could work wonders for the defense.

Rico Gutierrez:

Bug Howard:

Due to the injury of Cameron Meredith, wide receiver should be at the top of the list of positions to target before Week 1 of the regular season. Bug Howard is a big frame wide receiver that the Bears are in desperate need of, at approximately 6’ 4” tall and 215 pounds. Best of all, he played at North Carolina with Mitchell Trubisky. A familiar face and chemistry with the up and coming quarterback screams “Pick me!!”.

Shilique Calhoun:

Next on my list is Shilique Calhoun. He is an OLB that was a 3rd round draft pick of the 2016 draft by the Oakland Raiders. He did not get to play the entire season due to an injury but is back now and has added 20 lbs to his 6’4” frame, bringing him up to 270 lbs. The addition of Calhoun would be warmly welcomed due to the injuries the Bears’ linebackers have dealt with the last few years.

Austin Carr:

Last but not least is the rookie wide receiver Austin Carr out of Northwestern that was cut by the New England Patriots. He was a shining star in the preseason, showing off his excellent route running and soft hands. He is only 5’10”, but he has made some nice jump ball catches this preseason. The only apparent reason the Patriots cut him was due to the recent trade for Phillip Dorsett from the Colts. Carr has the potential to be the Bears’ top preseason steal, similar Cre’Von Leblanc was last year from the Patriots as well. Ironic? I think not.

Eduardo Monk Jr.:

Will Tye:

It’s no secret the Bears need tight end help. As of right now, the Bears have only Zach Miller, who’s good when he’s actually on the field, a rookie from below the FBS level Adam Shaheen, and a bunch of no-names. There’s a lot of potential in Shaheen, but that’s all there is: potential.

With the potential of having a rookie starting at quarterback, having a solid tight end to dump the ball off to instead of forcing passes would do wonders for production and confidence for a rookie. Shaheen could turn out to be a top tier tight end, but why not add some more depth for Trubisky to utilize?

Enter Will Tye. He’s still only going into his third season and, after a season seeing him average 8.2 yards per catch on 48 receptions, the skills to be a big-play tight end are there. A duo of Shaheen and Tye could be among the top offensive tight end combos in the league, and without a true number one receiver on the roster, that would be a dream come true for the Bears.


Scooby Wright:

The former Arizona Wildcat star tore up the college scene, winning the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Rotary Lombardi Award and Chuck Bednarik Award all in the same 2015 season. He was a seventh round selection to the lowly Browns despite his incredible upside due to a knee injury suffered in a game against Texas.

He didn’t appear in a game for the Browns and was banished to special teams with the Cardinals. It’s fair to say his career hasn’t taken off but that’s not to say the potential has disappeared. He boasts wicked mobility and coverage skill while being an able tackler.

With John Timu getting the knife and the starting duo of Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan making a weekly shrine to the football gods just to stay healthy, depth at the inside linebacker position is imperative if the Bears plan on having any semblance of being competitive. Who better for that spot than the 23-year-old Scooby Wright?

Cody Parkey:

Let’s face it, Bears fans. Connor Barth is probably the worst kicker in the entire league. Chicago kicking hasn’t been watchable since the lost days of Robbie Gould. Roberto Aguayo was an experiment that crashed and burned a la Hindenburg and now we’re stuck watching consistent 30-yard botches.

Cody Parkey is two years removed from his Pro Bowl rookie campaign and despite an odd injury in warmups that ended his Philadelphia career, he still nailed a solid 20/25 field goal clip as a Brown. The Bears need some serious help at kicker and there is no better option than Parkey.

Kevin Schroeder:

Channing Stribling:

I watched all of Stribling’s games the last couple years and saw a guy who could put together a nice, long career as a solid player for somebody. Having Jourdan Lewis opposite him certainly helped, but Stribling was no slough himself, particularly in coverage. His run support left something to be desired at times, but overall, I believe he could be an asset for a team without many serious ones at corner. At the very least, the Bears should sign him to the practice squad.

T.J. Clemmings:

Anyone familiar with any of my work knows I’m not a big believer in Bobby Massie, to the point where I gave serious thought to the idea that moving Kyle Long back to right tackle was the right move for the team. The Bears obviously did not do that, but Massie’s play in the preseason did nothing to make me think I was wrong for considering the idea. I liked T.J. Clemmings when he came out for the draft. I thought he had a lot of potential. He has clearly not lived up to that potential. But he’s only 25 and, I think, worth a look.

Malachi Dupre:

People will clamor for Austin Carr. I get it – he’s the local favorite and had a couple nice moments with the Patriots in camp. Maybe the Patriots made a mistake in letting him go. Patriots fans seemed a little taken aback by the decision. But it’s the Patriots. I think it’s much more likely that they know what they’re doing. Ted Thompson, on the other hand, has had some head scratchers. Dupre has the size and tools to be a very nice receiver, they just need some polishing. There’s plenty of time for said polishing – Dupre doesn’t even turn 22 until next month. Does he possess the greatest speed in the world? No, though his 40 time was identical to Brandon Marshall’s and only 0.04 seconds slower than Alshon Jeffery’s.

Tyler Volz:

Cobi Hamilton:
Barring a trade for Allen Hurns, the Chicago Bears stand to go into the season with Kevin White, Kendall Wright and Deonte Thompson as their top 3 WRs. Hamilton might not have the same flash as a guy like Austin Carr, but what he does have is NFL Experience, even starting in an AFC Championship game, even scoring a touchdown in that game. A deep threat, who is only 26 years old, well worth the add.
Pierre Desir:
Being cut from the Legion of Boom either sight a lack of talent, or a strength of depth, and for the Bears and Desir alike I think it could be strength of depth. He hasn’t played regularly, but in small doses the 6’1″ corner has 8 pass defenses and 41 total tackles. At the worst, he provides depth for a group that lacks it, at best, Vic Fangio can develop him into a solid role player.
Alex Boone:
Aged? Yes, but for a team who has several questions on the OL, they can do a lot worse for a backup guard. We saw what happened when Kyle Long and Josh Sitton missed time and it wasn’t the prettiest. If the Bears were to pickup Boone, it would allow them to put Cody Whitehair back at this pro bowl position and give the Bears an above average starter and an even better backup this season.
Chris Johnson:
Kasen Williams:
With the injury to Cameron Meredith the receiver room is looking mighty thin and could use an upgrade there. A waiver claim on WR Kasen Williams would make tons of sense after his standout preseason in Seattle. Williams is 6’3″ 218 lb monster on the outside who has an excellent ability to high point the ball and box out DBs. He’s a jump ball master with a great catch radius, which is a huge need for the Bears right now.
Shilique Calhoun:
Another position of need is OLB with Mcphee’s health questionable, sadly there isn’t much here but Shilique Calhoun could have some potential still as well. Calhoun was a 3rd round pick in 2015, and has plenty of potential to grow. Shadowed behind Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin he never got the snaps needed to grow into his potential. With the Bears lack of depth and Vic Fangio personally helping the OLBs he may have a good shot to unlock his potential here.
Pierre Desir:
Last but not least a claim on Pierre Desir could be a great move, he could still have a bright future in this league after not sticking on a deep Seahawks roster. Desir was a division 2 standout drafted by the Browns in 2014, a long corner with good ball skills he needed time to adjust to pro competition. He fits the Fangio/Donatell cornerback mold too perfectly to not take a shot on.
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