One of the few training camp/preseason position battles happening at Bears camp has been resolved.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports the team is sticking with punter Pat O’Donnell and will place rookie Ryan Winslow on waivers.
Chicago briefly explored other options in free agency before re-signing O’Donnell to a one-year deal. O’Donnell re-joined the Bears after a pair of NFC East teams with openings at punter showed interest. O’Donnell was coming off a season where he set career bests in punting yards (4,087) and average (47.0), but we’re hoping that one career best (87 punts) isn’t a number the Bears punter doesn’t come close to matching in 2018. He threw a touchdown pass before Mitch Trubisky could and owned a perfect 158.3 passer rating in 2018, which could have ultimately proven to be a tiebreaker in this position battle.
The Bears signed Winslow as an undrafted free agent to push O’Donnell throughout the summer, which is exactly what went down. O’Donnell proved to be up to the challenge, averaging 48.8 yards per punt, pinning three inside the 20, and getting two fair catches. Winslow was a worthy competitor, averaging 48.6 yards per punt, but didn’t have any that landed inside the 20 or a punt that was fair caught by an opposing returner. The University of Pittsburgh product was a first-team All-ACC member last season and could land with a team that could use an extra leg.
For more on the Bears’ other roster moves, you can follow along here.