NFC Contender Eyeing Former Bears WR After Signing Ex-Chicago OL

Tajae Sharpe

Getty Ex-Bears WR Tajae Sharpe worked out for the Arizona Cardinals this week.

The Arizona Cardinals‘ practice squad is quickly filling up with former Chicago Bears players.

A week after signing ex-Bears wide receiver Javon Wims, the Cards have added former Bears offensive lineman Lachavious “Pig” Simmons to their practice squad, according to the NFL’s September 20 waiver wire. Arizona is also showing interest in another ex-Bear, bringing recently-released Bears receiver Tajae Sharpe in for a tryout.

The Bears waived Simmons on his birthday this year (September 12), and he worked out for the New England Patriots before landing with the Cardinals. Sharpe was released with an injury settlement on September 9. We’ll see if he did enough to impress the Cardinals during his workout.

Simmons Spent the Last 2 Years With the Bears

The Bears drafted Simmons out of Tennessee State in the seventh round (227th overall) in 2020, and he has served primarily as a depth addition over the last two seasons, appearing in two games and starting one.

The 6-foot-5, 319-pound Simmons is widely referred to by his nickname, “Pig,” which he says his grandmother gave him as a child.

“She used to always cook collard greens and cornbread and stuff like that and I used to just pig out on it,” Simmons told the team’s official website in 2020 shortly after being drafted. “That’s how I got the nickname ‘Pig,’ and it just stuck.”

In 23 snaps played for the Bears last year, Simmons allowed four pressures and 2.0 sacks according to Pro Football Focus, so he’s still very much a work in progress. He has a great attitude and a solid work ethic, though, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can work his way up in Arizona.

“I’m a guy who can compete on the first day,” Simmons said back in 2020. “I’m a blue-collar guy who grew up on a farm, throwing hay bales — disciplined. My hard work, it can match anybody’s.”

Sharpe Flashed for Bears Over Preseason

Sharpe signed with the Bears this offseason, and he had a legitimate shot at making the team’s roster, particularly after a solid preseason opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The 27-year-old wideout caught two catches on two targets for 44 yards against Kansas City, including a dazzling toe-tapper on the sidelines, but he didn’t play again after that. A rib injury sidelined him, and the team eventually released him from injured reserve with an injury settlement.

“I think Tajae’s a lot like Darnell [Mooney] where he can adjust to balls thrown at him and stuff like that,” Bears quarterback Justin Fields said about Sharpe in August, per Josh Schrock of NBC Sports. “He has that savviness off the ball, and he’s probably two-to-three inches bigger than Darnell, too, so he has a good range, he has great hands, as I said before, great ball skills.”

The 6-foot-2, 194-pound Sharpe has 117 catches for 1,397 yards and eight touchdowns over his five years in the league. He played 15 games for the Atlanta Falcons last year, starting seven, and he finished with 25 catches for 230 yards. If he’s healthy, he’ll likely land with a receiver-needy squad soon.

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