With the NFL preseason rapidly reaching its conclusions, teams are scrambling to meet the fast-approaching deadlines for roster cuts.
In order to get down to the 75-player mark by Monday, the Chicago Bears released 14 players on Sunday afternoon, including veteran safety Tom Zbikowski and wide receiver Devin Aromashodu.
The full list of players can be found here, but for now, we’re going to focus on the release of Aromashodu, and what it tells us about the Bears' mentality moving forward.
The move is an interesting one because of the issues the Bears are having at wide receiver right now. Earl Bennett, one of Jay Cutler’s favorite targets, has been missing from practice with concussion symptoms, and has still not been cleared to practice with the team. That opening, along with the cautious approach the Bears are taking with Brandon Marshall’s hip, should have been enough for Aromashodu to gain a foothold on the roster, but he was stymied by several factors.
The first and most important factor is the emergence of rookie wide out Marquess Wilson. The seventh round draft pick has dazzled Bears observers during this preseason, and has gone from an afterthought to a very likely candidate to replace Bennett as the team’s third receiver when the season opens next Sunday against the Bengals.
Another factor in Aromashodu’s departure has been the versatility shown by receiver Joe Anderson. Last season, he came onto the team late in the campaign and made a big impact on special teams, and coordinator Joe DeCamillis has repeatedly said how pleased he is with Anderson’s energy and technique.
Finally, there is the fact that there are plenty of teams throughout the league that are hurting at the wide receiver spot right now, and the Bears wanted to give Aromashodu the chance to catch on with one of them. Teams like the Philadelphia Eagles (who have lost both Jeremy Maclin and Arrelious Benn during training camp) could be on the lookout for a field stretcher to soothe the wounds of their depleted cores, and Aromashodu should get another shot sooner rather than later.
The biggest lesson of all that Bears fans can learn from this first round of cuts is that the team’s brass is going to reward players who work hard and shine in all situations. As Anderson and Wilson can attest, this is a results-driven process with the new regime, and that belief is reflected in their first big set of roster moves.