One more week before the Chicago Bears and the rest of the NFL put on their cleats and take the football field. What team will the Bears have out there on Week 1? The Bears’ 53-man roster (courtesy of CBS Chicago) was recently revealed, and it is anything but final. As expected, the Bears are looking to make several moves between now and Wednesday.
While the other 31 NFL teams were trimming players from their rosters to make the mandate of 53, the Bears were monitoring things. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure in the NFL. If the Bears can find a couple of steals that could lead to a good showing this season. The Bears have a couple of holes to fill, therefore it does not hurt them to go searching. That is exactly what the Bears have done, and it appears that they have struck. After most of the cuts were announced, the Bears moved quickly.
According to CSN Chicago, the NFL awarded the Chicago Bears waiver claims on both Eric Kush and Cre’Von LeBlanc.
Kush was most recently with the Los Angeles Rams and LeBlanc was an undrafted rookie on the New England Patriots. Because the Bears claimed them on waivers, they are guaranteed a spot on the 53-man roster.
Eric Kush and Cre’Von LeBlanc fill two of the Bears’ greatest needs — offensive line depth and cornerback.
Injuries to Bears’ starters at both positions led to the Bears making waiver claims on Kush and LeBlanc. Both will have an opportunity to play.
Eric Kush plays center and he is strong at the point of attack. His hand placement is good enough to keep rushers from penetrating up the middle.
The 26-year-old has bounced around a little bit. The Chicago Bears are his sixth team in three seasons, but he has the versatility. The ability to play multiple positions is what the Bears are looking for in their offensive linemen. Not only can Kush play center, but he can swing over to guard at anytime.
The knock on Kush is inexperience. He has only appeared in 10 games this far. That said, he will get a long look by the Bears.
Cre’Von LeBlanc is also inexperienced at cornerback. He is a rookie. LeBlanc did not play at a big school, making a name for himself at Florida Atlantic, but he caught the eye of the Patriots’ coaching staff.
The Patriots thought highly of LeBlanc, even considering keeping him in their 53-man roster. They gambled by cutting him, hoping no team would place a waiver claim him so that he would join their practice squad. Once LeBlanc hit waivers, it was easy for the Bears to claim him. After all, the Bears practiced with the Patriots for three days leading up to their NFL preseason Week 2 game.
LeBlanc has good size at 5-11 and 194 pounds. That makes him one of the bigger Bears’ cornerbacks. Special teams will give LeBlanc the opportunity to contribute for the Bears right away. He will also be used in some of the Bears’ nickel and dime packages.
It is possible the Bears will be without Kyle Fuller for at least Week 1. That will thrust LeBlanc into a meaningful role early as long as he can impress in Bears practices this week. Do not be surprised to see him start a game or two for the Bears before the season is over.
Now that Eric Kush and Cre’Von LeBlanc are in the mix, there is a strong chance that the Bears will be adding a third player who was waived.
The Green Bay Packers made Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton one of their cuts (courtesy of ESPN) to finalize their 53-man roster. It was a shocker to most NFL observers and a message that anyone can get placed on waivers at anytime.
Sitton is expected to have plenty of suitors, including the Chicago Bears, who reportedly met with the free agent Saturday night. Despite getting a new start, Sitton is sad about leaving (courtesy of ESPN) the Packers.
Going to the Packers’ most-storied rivals could change those emotions.
Looks like former Packers' Pro Bowl G Josh Sitton's first visit will be to...division-rival Chicago Bears, per sources. Saints could follow— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 4, 2016
Because Sitton is a vested veteran, no team can make a waiver claim on him. He became a free-agent once the Packers released him. This is why the Bears were able to secure a visit with and his agent quickly.
The Bears are currently waiting on Josh Sitton’s decision. In the meantime, they have make a couple of corresponding moves to fit Kush and LeBlanc.
There was another move the Bears made which was a stunner.
The Bears, according to CSN Chicago, released veteran kicker Robbie Gould. Gould, a Pro Bowl kicker, had struggled since last season. Once the NFL’s most accurate kicker, Gould missed six of his 39 field goal attempts. The preseason was just as unkind as he missed the extra point twice in the final warmup game. Robbie Gould does hold the Bears’ franchise records for most field goals made, attempted and total points scored. Prior to the Bears releasing him, Gould had the longest tenure on the team.
On a positive note, the Beara decided to lock up right guard Kyle Long with a four-year, $40 million extension. The Bears gave Long $30 million in guaranteed salary, according to Yahoo Sports.
With Long secured for the long-term, the Bears look to add Josh Sitton.
With money Bears are giving Kyle Long and possibly Josh Sitton, Chicago could have NFL's priciest and best G... https://t.co/mJaVgP6lHL— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 4, 2016
Sitton signing with the Bears would give them a top-10 level NFL offensive line. On paper, the Bears would have the best guard duo in the league if they add Josh Sitton. They would also have the NFL’s most expensive guard duo.
He instantly upgrades the Bears at left guard, moving rookie Cody Whitehair to center where he could flourish. The Bears adding Sitton also helps left tackle Charles Leno.
Leno did well in his first year protecting Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler’s blindside. That can only be enhanced with a Pro Bowl guard playing next to him.
Last year it was Matt Slauson helping Leno along. Slauson is a good player, unheralded actually. Slauson is not Josh Sitton.
By being patient, the Chicago Bears added players Eric Kush and Cre’Von LeBlanc, players who fits their needs. This also includes a tight end. It was confirmed by the Chicago Sun-Times that the Bears will sign Logan Paulsen. Now the Bears wait for Josh Sitton to decide if he will join them.
If Sitton does jump over to the Bears, they could go from a seven-win team to a playoff team.
Update On Josh Sitton and the Chicago Bears
The Bears have signed three-time Pro Bowl lineman Josh Sitton, a source confirmed.— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) September 5, 2016
Josh Sitton and the Chicago Bears agree on a three-year deal according to several outlets. CBS Chicago is reporting that Sitton will likely start at center for the Bears.
[Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]