Bears Release Speedy WR, Re-Sign Familiar Face

Jon'Vea Johnson

Getty Wideout Jon'Vea Johnson was released by the Chicago Bears.

One day after releasing him from their 53-man roster, the Chicago Bears re-signed rookie linebacker Sam Kamara to the practice squad, the team announced on November 4.

In a corresponding roster move, Chicago cut wide receiver Jon’Vea Johnson from the PS.

Kamara was one of the original members of the team’s 16-player practice squad at the start of the season, and he was elevated to the active roster in mid-October. He appeared in three games for the Bears this season, netting three total tackles, two QB pressures and two hurries prior to his release.

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Johnson Was a Bit of a Standout at Training Camp This Summer

The Bears chose to keep Johnson, a 25-year old wideout, over former draft picks Javon Wims and Riley Ridley, but with the team already carrying a bevy of wide receivers, there simply wasn’t room for him.

Johnson finished his collegiate career with 125 catches for 2,265 yards (that’s 18.1 yards per catch) and 25 touchdowns. He caught on with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2019, but he wound up spending the bulk of that year on injured reserve. He spent the entire 2020 season on the Cowboys’ practice squad before getting waived on March 19, 2021. He landed in Chicago this summer, and he seemed to be developing a bit of a connection with rookie quarterback Justin Fields.

The speedy wideout also ran a 4.38 in the 40-yard dash during his pro day, and he didn’t do much during his three preseason games with Chicago this year (three catches on four targets for 19 yards), so his release isn’t unexpected at all.

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What Does Bears Practice Squad Currently Look Like?

Here’s the complete list of players on Chicago’s practice squad after the team signed Kamara on November 4:

  • Nsimba Webster (WR/PR), Dazz Newsome  (WR), Isaiah Coulter (WR), Rodney Adams (WR), Artavis Pierce (RB), Tyrone Wheatley Jr. (OL), Arlington Hambright (OL), Dieter Eiselen (OL), Charles Snowden (OLB), Cassius Marsh (OLB), Sam Kamara (OLB), Ledarius Mack (LB), Rashad Smith (ILB), LaCale London (DL), Margus Hunt (DL), Thomas Graham Jr. (CB).

This is likely going to change soon, with starting running back David Montgomery returning from injured reserve — a move that’s coming, according to Bears head coach Matt Nagy.

“He has worked really hard to get to this point,” Nagy said on November 4 about Montgomery, who hasn’t played since October 3. “It probably feels like forever to him, and I know it feels like that for us too. He was having such a great year, so now we’ll see where it goes. But it’s good timing if we are able to get him back and get him going because he’s grown into such a tremendous leader for that offense. … To be able to get him back in those huddles is great.”

Montgomery could play as early as Monday night, November 8, when Chicago visits the Pittsburgh Steelers, and based on how he looked when he returned to practice this week, that’s possible.

It’s also equally possible Chicago rests him an extra week with its bye week coming up Week 10. When he does return, expect running back Ryan Nall to get cut from the roster and signed back to the practice squad.

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