The Chicago Bears are parting ways with one of their more promising offensive line standouts from the preseason as they work toward the 53-man roster limit.
According to Brad Biggs of The Chicago Tribune, the Bears are expected to move on from second-year offensive tackle Kellen Diesch and place him on the waiver wire on Monday, August 28, ending his competition for one of Chicago’s backup tackle spots. Biggs added undrafted rookie offensive tackle Robert Haskins is also getting waived.
Additionally, NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe reported Monday that Chicago will be waiving defensive tackle Bravvion Roy, a former 15-game starter for the Carolina Panthers. The Bears had signed Roy on August 1 to add another experienced body to the interior of their defense but he was unable to make much of an impression despite getting action in the preseason, notching just one tackle and a quarterback hurry.
The Bears have now made six roster cuts in the past two days, beginning Sunday night when they released backup quarterback P.J. Walker and waived offensive linemen Alex Leatherwood and undrafted rookie Gabe Houy. They also placed wide receiver Dante Pettis and safety Adrian Colbert on season-ending injured reserve and waived/injured wideout Joe Reed and tight end Jared Pinkney ahead of Saturday’s preseason finale.
Counting Monday’s still-unannounced roster moves, the Bears have 27 more roster cuts to make before the NFL-wide deadline at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, August 29.
Kellen Diesch Should Be Top Practice-Squad Candidate
Diesch — a 2022 practice-squad holdover — played 90 snaps at left tackle over his three preseason performances for the Bears, allowing four pressures and one sack over 52 pass-blocking reps. He also thrived in the run game over that span, earning a quality 80.2 grade from Pro Football Focus that ranked him the eighth-best run-blocker among offensive tackles who played at least 20 run-blocking snaps in the preseason.
Given the Bears’ lack of tackle depth, Diesch figured to at least have a shot at winning a backup job behind starters Braxton Jones and Darnell Wright, their first-round rookie. Borom, however, was about as steady as he could have been in his preseason audition for the swing tackle role, finishing with the best PFF run-blocking (96.2) and overall (94.5) grades among all offensive linemen who played at least one snap this summer.
It is possible the Bears are interested in adding a more experienced offensive tackle to their roster off the waivers after 53-man cut decisions are made, but Diesch’s promising preseason should at least earn him consideration for their practice squad, where he would have the opportunity to continue developing behind the scenes.
Could Bears Add OT Experience From Rival Packers?
The Bears hold the No. 1 waiver-wire priority until the third week of the regular season, and there is little question that general manager Ryan Poles will be looking to take full advantage of that fortuitous position when it comes to adding talent from the cut pile.
If he gets lucky, he might even be able to add tackle depth from the Green Bay Packers.
As ESPN’s Rob Demovsky noted, the Packers could be preparing to move on from 2022 starting right tackle Yosh Nijman at the cut deadline after second-year draft picks Zach Tom and Rasheed Walker passed him up on the depth chart throughout training camp. With David Bakhtiari holding down the left tackle spot and left guard Elgton Jenkins capable of moving to tackle in a pinch, the timing could be right for the Packers to put their younger tackles to the test and move on from Nijman and his $4.3 million cap hit.
The Bears, of course, would benefit from adding a swing tackle of Nijman’s caliber. He has played 803 snaps at left tackle and another 555 snaps at right tackle over the past three seasons with the Packers, working his way up the ranks as an undrafted signing. He also received a career-best pass-blocking grade (74.4) from PFF in 2022 despite yielding 28 pressures and five sacks from, primarily, the right tackle position.
The Packers have said they are planning to wait until Tuesday’s cutdown day to make decisions about their 53-man roster, but the Bears could have an opportunity to nab another quality talent if they decide Nijman isn’t worth keeping for the 2023 season.