Chicago selected Newsome in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL draft ( 221st overall) out of North Carolina, and after the Bears released the likes of Javon Wims and Riley Ridley, Newsome seemed like a shoo-in to make the roster. Instead, he’ll be available for other wide receiver-needy teams to claim.
Along with rookie sixth-rounder Thomas Graham Jr., Newsome became the second of general manager Ryan Pace’s seven 2021 draft picks to be released, and the sixth wide receiver drafted by the Bears GM to be traded or released since 2015. It’s a growing list that includes receivers Ridley, Anthony Miller, Wims, Kevin White and Daniel Braverman.
Several analysts were surprised by Newsome’s release, including Patrick Finley of The Chicago Sun-Times and Jacob Infante of Windy City Gridiron, who noted that considering Chicago’s current lack of depth at wideout, Newsome’s release is a tad confusing.
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Bears HC Matt Nagy Had Good & Bad Things to Say About Newsome
Newsome missed significant time this offseason after breaking his collarbone in early June. He was out for two months, and was expected to contribute to the Bears’ return unit, particularly since Chicago is currently without top punt returner Tarik Cohen for an indefinite amount of time.
“I thought he was doing well with the specific routes. Forget the coverages, just what route are you supposed to run within the play? He was doing good there,” Nagy said about Newsome on August 2, adding:
“Now, I think, he’s gonna have to really understand, ‘OK, if I’m playing this position, line up, get set and go.’ Things are a lot faster. He’s a great kid and he’s got a great mindset. I’m impressed with him being able to get back here because that was hard when he landed on that shoulder, so we’ll just take it day by day. He’s got the want.”
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Newsome is Sure Practice Squad Candidate if He Clears Waivers
In two seasons and 24 games with the Tar Heels, Newsome caught 126 passes for 1,702 yards and 16 scores. The speedy wideout ran a 4.57 40-yard dash at his pro day, and if the other 31 teams pass on him, he’s a lock for a spot on the Bears’ practice squad.
He didn’t get that many opportunities to showcase his skills as a receiver in the preseason, and he seemed to sense this.
“I think I just need to show my abilities and what I can do, what I can bring to the table,” Newsome said after the Bears’ second preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, via The Chicago Sun-Times. “I don’t think they’ve seen enough. I ain’t seen enough, so they couldn’t see enough.”
He didn’t play in Chicago’s first preseason matchup against the Miami Dolphins, but in the team’s two subsequent games, he caught two passes on three targets for 26 yards. He was also the only player the Bears had returning punts in the last two preseason games. He had three returns for 17 yards.
It won’t be long before we learn whether he lands back in the Windy City or not.