Eddie Goldman’s decision to opt out of the 2020 season was an eye-opening moment for a lot of us. One that serves as a reminder that some things are bigger than football. And that even professional athletes with the ability to move 300-pound men can decide to play it safe instead of playing during a pandemic.
Nevertheless, Bears GM Ryan Pace (via Bear Report’s Zack Pearson) said he hadn’t heard from any other players about wanting to opt out. Indeed, the expectation – at the time of the press conference – was that no other Bears are going to opt out. Of course, that could change between now and the deadline. And speaking of which, that date (August 3rd, 4th, or 5th) remains undetermined because the NFL-NFLPA agreement, while verbally agreed upon, has not yet been signed. In any case, players still have time to make such a designation.
In any case, Pace mentioned during his Wednesday press conference (via ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson) that the team was likely to get down to an 80-player roster by Sunday. That’s important, too. Because in case you were unaware, training camp rosters have been trimmed from 90 to 80 for training camp. And while teams can hold more than 80 players on their rosters until August 16th, doing so requires those teams to practice in split squads. That might not seem like much, but it’s a hurdle I don’t imagine many teams want to have to clear. Not when more than 80 players can be at the facility at the same time.
The Bears’ current roster sits at 83 players after the team placed tight end Eric Saubert on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Players on that list don’t count toward the active roster. And as things currently stand, Chicago has two such players (Saubert and Artavis Pierce) on the list.
For what it’s worth, there is no shortage of potential options in which the Bears can get to 80 players. The team currently has handful of crowded position groups. For instance, there are 16 defensive backs, 15 offensive linemen, 11 wide receivers, and yes, 6 tight ends.
Now, before you get cut-happy with releases, be aware of what Head Coach Matt Nagy said yesterday:
Jotted it down on my yellow pad when Nagy said: "With no preseason, there are players that are going to get cut that probably shouldn't get cut."
It'll be up to Pace to make sure he doesn't cut those guys, while also monitor the field to see if someone elsewhere does.
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) July 29, 2020
In other words, the roster churn probably won’t stop Sunday. Expect the Bears to monitor situations around the league when cuts come down. Chicago could see another team’s cut worth bringing to camp. Sunday is worth circling on your football calendar. It could bring the beginning of another roster churn.