Bears’ Receiver Rotation Seems Set
The Bears placed David Moore on IR Sunday, effectively ending his season. Dazz Newsome is in danger of being cut because he’s had trouble holding onto the football, and he badly missed a pass in Thursday’s win over the Seahawks. Camp started with Darnell Mooney as the team’s number one wideout and a whole lot of questions after. Tajae Sharpe has earned some reps and has developed chemistry with Justin Fields. With that in mind, the Bears’ receiver rotation seems set. Injuries may alter plans slightly, however.
Assuming the Bears keep six wide receivers, head coach Matt Eberflus will start the season with Mooney, Sharpe, Equanimeous St. Brown, Byron Pringle, Dante Pettis, N’Keal Harry, and Velus Jones Jr. manning the receiver room. Harry will have to be rostered and then placed on IR, so that may save a spot for Newsome, Nsimba Webster, or Kevin Shaa. Each would have to be cut first. Eberflus doesn’t have the depth anywhere else to open an extra slot for a wide receiver.
The front office will be scouring the waiver wire after second and third cuts for reinforcements, too. Marquez Callaway and T.J. Vasher are players to keep an eye on.
The Saints would be foolish to cut Callaway, yet, he’s on the bubble with roster cuts looming this Tuesday and next. New Orleans signed free agent Jarvis Landry, who has had a very good training camp. They also drafted Chris Olave in the first round. The receiver room is getting a little crowded there. The knock on Callaway is that he’s a great preseason player who disappears once the games count. He’s battling Tre’Quan Smith and Dai’Jean Dixon, and Kirk Merritt for the final roster spots at wide receiver. Rumor has it the Saints are interested in Odell Beckham Jr., which would guarantee Callway will be cut.
I've actually written before camp (and said a few times since) that I wouldn't be surprised if the Saints tried to trade Smith or Marquez Callaway instead of cutting them. Cleveland is 1 of the teams I mentioned as a possibility. You guys look a little thin at WR in my opinion
— Bob Rose (@bobbyr2613) August 16, 2022
It’s worth noting that Callaway went undrafted before breaking out as a rookie in 2020. He struggled last year, missing on 45% of his targets after catching 77.8% of everything thrown to him as a rookie. Some of that can be attributed to the quarterback situation in New Orleans. Drew Brees was the unquestioned starter two seasons ago. Last year the Saints used four starters, including Bears’ backup Trevor Siemian. The others were Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill, and Ian Book. Callaway looks the part of a player that might pique the interest of Chicago GM Ryan Poles. If he becomes available, keep an eye on him.
Vasher is currently listed as a WR5 with the Cowboys. He’s 6-foot-6 and was also undrafted (2021), but the Texas Tech product has yet to play in a regular season game. He’s battling Simi Fehoko and Dennis Houston for a roster spot. Vasher is blessed with elite skills and is very fast for his size, but his work ethic has been terrible, and he rarely plays to his potential. He struggled at Texas Tech despite flashing some big-play and mismatch ability. Vasher was benched often and relegated to backup duty as a senior. He totaled only 19 receptions for 227 yards and two touchdowns in his final season as a Red Raider.
🏈In a Chicago #Bears wide receiver room that will be looking for players to step up, keep an eye on Kevin Shaa (@Kevybo_ )
Last season at Liberty he had 28 receptions that went for 516 yards and 6 touchdowns. #DaBears #NFL
— Marissa Myers (@Marissa_M27) August 7, 2022
If the Bears don’t add a receiver off the waiver wire, then Shaa is a player to watch. At 5-foot-10 and 166 pounds, it’s almost generous to call him diminutive. The undrafted rookie from Liberty plays much bigger than his frame indicates, and has 4.3 speed. He caught 28 passes for 516 yards and six touchdowns with Malik Willis as his senior year quarterback, so he’s a big-play receiver. Shaa is a perfect candidate for the practice squad, but he could make the team, due in part to Newsome’s poor camp. Webster is nothing but a return man, and Jones Jr. will be handling that responsibility.