The Chicago Bears have announced that wide receiver Tanner Gentry has been promoted to the active roster as part of a busy morning of transactions.
In a corresponding move, the team released receiver/kick returner Deonte Thompson two days after playing just seven snaps in Trubisky’s debut on Monday Night Football. Prior to Monday’s game, Thompson played in 67.7 percent of the team’s offensive snaps – including 77.9 percent in the team’s loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 4.
Gentry, an undrafted free agent from Wyoming, was a fan favorite at training camp as he built a bond with Trubisky while working on the third-team offense. During the preseason, Gentry caught four of the five targets Trubisky sent his way, gained 77 yards, and hauled in a touchdown during the team’s exhibition win against the Tennessee Titans.
This is a second tour of duty with the active roster for Gentry, who has been cut twice, cleared waivers each time, and has spent all but one week on the team’s practice squad.
Gentry built a reputation for making plays on the ball in the air and being a quality deep ball target while at college hauling in passes from 2018 NFL Draft prospect Josh Allen. When Gentry was on the receiving end of passes from Allen, he found himself hauling in 22 of the NCAA-leading 49 deep targets thrown in his direction.
For what it’s worth, the 2016 Bears had the highest proportion of deep ball targets (20.2 percent) and threw the most catchable deep throws (33) according to Pro Football Focus. The 2017 Bears are the only team without a pass play of 30+ yards, so any potential help should be welcome.
The Bears have been rotating receivers on and off the active roster since injuries to Cameron Meredith and Kevin White depleted an already thin position group. The team has promoted receivers off the practice squad in each of the last two weeks, with Gentry joining Tre McBride – who played 70.5 percent of the team’s offensive snaps on Monday.
With Gentry getting the call to the active roster, the team signed linebacker Carl Bradford and receiver Darreus Rogers to the practice squad.
Bradford was a fourth-round pick by the Packers in 2014, but was inactive for every game during his rookie season and was part of the team’s final round of cuts in 2015 and 2016. Rogers, an undrafted free agent rookie receiver who played his college ball at USC, has spent some time with the Seattle Seahawks in 2017. He was an All-Pac-12 honorable mention after finishing second on the team in catches (56) and receiving yards (696) as a senior.