Bears Cut Offensive Player to Make Room for Kicker Cairo Santos

Bears roster moves

Getty Kicker Cairo Santos of the Chicago Bears has missed two kicks in the last three weeks, and there are serious concerns about his range. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

With Eddy Pineiro on injured reserve for at least another two weeks, the Chicago Bears have moved kicker Cairo Santos up to the active 53-man roster. In order to have room for Santos, the Bears have waived tight end Eric Saubert, who is expected to be signed to the team’s practice squad.

The Bears poached Saubert of the Raiders’ practice squad late last season, and he played in two games with Chicago, catching two passes for 21 yards. With tight ends Jimmy Graham, Demetrius Harris, J.P. Holtz and rookie Cole Kmet giving the Bears a noticeably better tight ends room this year, it’s not surprise to see Saubert waived. When his name was listed on the team’s inactive sheet Week 1, it was a good indication he could be bumped if a possible roster move occurred, and he was.

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Bears Have 3 Slots to Fill on Practice Squad, Saubert Will Likely Take One

Bears TE Eric Saubert

GettyTEs Cole Kmet and Eric Saubert of the Chicago Bears participate in a drill during training camp at Halas Hall on September 02, 2020 in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

With Santos elevated to the roster and the Bears losing offensive lineman Jamon Brown and linebacker Rashad Smith to the Eagles and Cowboys, respectively, Chicago now has three vacancies to fill on its practice squad. Look for Saubert to slide into one of those slots.

Saubert, who was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the fifth round of the 2017 draft, spent his first two seasons in Atlanta, where he played in 30 games, starting one. The Falcons traded him to New England for a seventh-round pick in August of 2019, but he was released by the Patriots during final roster cuts. The Raiders picked him up after that, and he spent a few months on their practice squad before being added to the Bears’ roster late last year.

Will Cairo Santos Threaten Eddy Pineiro’s Job?

Chicago Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro

GettyPunter Pat O’Donnell and Eddy Pineiro of the Chicago Bears celebrate Pineiro’s 53-yard field goal in the final second of the fourth quarter to defeat the Denver Broncos. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

After going through a kicking competition in 2019 that garnered national attention (perhaps scorn would be a better word), Eddy Pineiro came out on top, winning the job. After the Cody Parkey debacle that ended Chicago’s playoff run in 2018, the team was hoping to find stability at the position — but Pineiro hasn’t been as reliable as the team hoped he’d be. He battled through a pinched nerve in his knee for a few weeks last year, and he started this season on the injured reserve list due to a groin injury, so health has been a concern with Pineiro just one year in.

He went 23-28 on his field goals his first season with the Bears, and he made 27 of 29 extra point attempts. But what if Santos plays lights out until Pineiro comes back?

In his first and only game with the Bears this season, Santos made both of his field goal attempts, and he went 3-3 on extra points. He doesn’t quite have the leg Pineiro does, but he has something that could be potentially more valuable: the trust of Matt Nagy. If he continues to make kicks, it will be interesting to see how the team handles Pineiro’s return.

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