This week, NFL teams have to trim rosters from 90 players down to 75. The deadline is Tuesday at 3 p.m., yet the Chicago Bears wasted no time waiving 15 players this weekend.
Those waived: RB Curtis Brinkley, DT Eric Foster, T A.J. Lindeman, C P.J. Lonergan, S Derrick Martin, TE Gabe Miller, TE Leonard Pope, DT Brent Russell, LB Patrick Trahan, P Tress Way, LB Lawrence Wilson, DE Kyle Moore and WR Devin Aromashodu.
The majority of those cut were nothing more than camp bodies who served on the third team throughout training camp. The hometown kid, Zbikowski, was a player many were rooting for, yet he struggled to make an impact in Bourbonnais.
Yet two players on this list, Moore and Aromashodu, were working with their respective first teams just two weeks ago.
At defensive end, Moore took a number of reps as a starter during training camp. When both Julius Peppers and Corey Wootton sat out the preseason opener, Moore was inserted with the ones alongside Shea McClellin. And this past Friday, Moore picked up a sack against the Oakland Raiders.
Moore has been battling with rookie Cornelius Washington and Cheta Ozougwu for the club's fourth defensive end spot. His sack last week – combined with Ozougwu's hamstring injury, which held him out of the Oakland game – had many, myself included, believing Moore was on his way to a roster spot.
Even in camp, Moore was given an opportunity to play the "rover" position with the second team in Mel Tucker's exotic blitz packages. He even showed enough athleticism to turn and run with a tight end 20 yards down the field. So this move, based on what Moore did in both practice and during the preseason, is a head scratcher
Apparently, Chicago's staff feels more comfortable with a raw rookie and a player out with a hamstring injury, then they did with Moore. As a result of this move, I fully expect Washington to make the roster this year. Ozougwu also has a shot at the final 53, assuming he gets back on the field this week, if the team keeps five ends.
At receiver, waiving Aromashodu was also surprising. In the preseason opener, with Brandon Marshall not participating, Aromashodu was a member of the starting roster. He made a number of plays in camp and appeared to be a potential downfield threat for Marc Trestman's offense.
Yet against the Raiders, the Bears use rookie Marquess Wilson with the ones. Aromashodu didn't see playing time until the third team took the field, so the writing was on the wall. Yet there are a number of other receivers on this roster who did not show nearly as much as Aromashodu over the past month. How he gets cut, while Josh Lenz and Brittan Golden will get another week's pay, is beyond me.
This move means Wilson has likely solidified a spot on this year's roster, despite having almost no value on special teams. Joe Anderson also appears safe.
There is always the possibility the Bears don't want to showcase these players in the preseason finale so they can easily pick them back up next week, similar to what they did with Matt Blanchard last year. Yet Blanchard was an unknown commodity, while Moore and Aromashodu are veterans, so that appears unlikely.
Under Trestman and GM Phil Emery, it's obvious that high-upside rookies take precedent over middle-of-the-pack players. With these cuts, it would not be surprising if Chicago kept all six of this year's draft picks.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his third season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.