The Bears had a winning season in 2018. Yes, you read that correctly. Chicago finished 12-4 and ran away with the NFC North.
That was their first winning season since 2012 and their first playoff appearance since 2010. It ended in their first playoff game when Philadelphia came to town.
The preseason trade for Khalil Mack seemed to turn their entire team around. The Bears turned into one of the best defenses in the league. Head coach Matt Nagy pushed all the right buttons all season long.
Heading into 2019, the Vikings and Packers are both expected to be better. This does not mean that the Bears are back to being in the basement of the division. Chicago has a roster that they feel good about.
Unfortunately for some, the Bears can only carry 53 players on that talented roster. There will be some tough decisions to be made.
These are three players who may find themselves on the outside looking in.
3. Nick Kwiatkoski
This is a small surprise. Kwiatkoski has played all three seasons in his career with the Bears. He has totaled 41 games including 16 last season. He is entering the final year of his contract and his skill set is not worth keeping. Kwiatkoski struggles in coverage. The inside linebacker group for the Bears has become crowded.
Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan are the penciled in starters. Kwiatkoski was thought to be a serviceable sub on the roster, however, the Bears have two other players who can contribute more as backups. Joel Iyiegbuniwe and Kevin Pierre-Louis are two promising players who can contribute both at linebacker and special teams.
Whether Kwiatkoski is let go or traded, he will not find himself on the final roster for Chicago.
2. Javon Wims
Wims is an interesting player. He played his college football at Georgia and had four catches for 32 yards in his rookie season. The Bears seem to like the receiver’s skill set, but is there room for him?
At 6-foot-4 and 216 pounds, Wims has the size to be an NFL wide receiver. He also comes with the speed. However, the Bears wide receiver room is so crowded that they toyed around with the idea of turning Wims into a tight end.
With Trey Burton as the starter and two other formidable tight ends on the roster, Wims might just be left out. Nagy likes to keep talented players and find a way to make them fit. Wims is that kind of player, but this is a situation where he might be the last player on a long list and he will have to be kept off.
1. Marvin Hall
Hall spent the first two seasons of his career in Atlanta. He finished last season with 10 catches for 149 yards and a touchdown. Chicago brought Hall to town to compete for a spot. This will be a tough thing to do with a deep receiving core in Chicago.
Allen Robinson is the clear No. 1 on the team. Anthony Miller and Taylor Gabriel both had breakout seasons in 2018. Not to mention, Cordarrelle Patterson and Riley Ridley were added this offseason.
Mitchell Trubisky has a talented group of receivers to throw the ball to and Hall might be left off the final roster. This will get interesting if the Bears decide to carry seven receivers, which Nagy has not ruled out. That is the only way Hall could stay on the roster. Also, if Hall is let go, does this open up room for Wims? There are many details to pay attention to heading into the season.