Asurprising young player has been impressing those in attendance at OTAs and minicamp for the Chicago Bears this offseason.
Wide receiver Chris Finke, an undrafted free agent out of the University of Notre Dame, has been mentioned by multiple top insiders as someone who has impressed enough early on to potentially make the team’s final 53-man roster.
Finke, 26, spent time on the San Francisco 49ers‘ practice squad in 2020 before landing with the Kansas City Chiefs in May of 2021. There, he worked with current Bears general manager Ryan Poles, who served as Kansas City’s executive director of player personnel at the time. He never saw the field, however, as he was released with an injury settlement in the fall of 2021 and later re-signed in January of 2022.
The Bears picked him up after Chiefs waived him in May, and he has been impressing ever since.
ALL the latest Bears news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Bears newsletter here!
Insiders Say Finke Is Potential Final Roster Candidate
Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic has Finke making the team in his final roster projection, mentioning the wideout’s connection to Poles.
“As of now, the final spot goes to Finke, who has a connection with Poles from his time in Kansas City,” Fishbain wrote on June 22, with the caveat that other receivers could also impress in training camp. “Tomorrow, it could be (Dante) Pettis, or (Tajae) Sharpe, or Dazz Newsome, or David Moore, or Kevin Shaa or a veteran receiver to be signed later.”
Fishbain isn’t the only insider covering the team to throw hype Finke’s way. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune singled Finke out in his June 22 column.
“I think the Bears are curious to see how the crop of receivers they have pans out,” Biggs wrote. “Not everyone is going to excel or meet expectations, but if one or two are solid it’s a step in the right direction. Maybe an unknown will step forward. I thought former Notre Dame wide receiver Chris Finke made some nice plays this spring. He’s undersized at 5-foot-9, 186 pounds, but maybe he can compete for a look in the slot.”
Follow the Heavy on Bears Facebook page, where you can weigh in on all the latest Bears-related breaking news, rumors, content and more!
Can the Undersized Finke Impress When the Pads Go On?
That’s the key question, and it may ultimately determine whether Finke lands on the 53-man roster, the practice squad, or neither. Chicago will hold its training camp from July 26 through August 21, and Finke will have to make an impression and carve out a role for himself there. If he can stay healthy and develop a solid rapport with quarterback Justin Fields, he has a shot at making the team.
Finke was a walk-on at Notre Dame in 2015, and he worked his way up to a starting role with the team during his junior and senior seasons, so the underdog role is familiar to him. He had decent numbers over his final two seasons with the Fighting Irish, hauling in 90 passes for 1,027 yards (11.4 yards per catch) and six touchdowns in 26 games.
He’ll be competing against some less-than-impressive names in Chicago, including Moore, Shaa and Newsome, and if he can continue to make plays, he could be one of the most pleasant surprises of the team’s offseason.