Bears Cut Ties With Young Pass Rusher During 2023 NFL Draft

Gerri Green Bears Release

Getty Head coach Matt Eberflus of the Chicago Bears looks on prior to the game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field on November 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Chicago Bears aren’t waiting until the 2023 NFL draft has concluded to make some adjustments to their 90-man offseason roster.

According to the NFL’s official transaction wire for April 28, the Bears released fifth-year defensive end Gerri Green — a 2019 sixth-round pick for Indianapolis — from their 90-man roster ahead of Friday’s second round of the draft. He is the second player they have released from their roster in the past week behind cornerback Harrison Hand.

Green spent the final three months of the 2022 regular season on the Bears’ practice squad and was elevated in Week 10 to play in his first career NFL game, but the 27-year-old defensive end played just four defensive snaps and left little impression. While the Bears did sign him to a future/reserve contract for the 2023 season, his pursuit of a full-time roster spot was always going to be an uphill battle for him. Now, Green will have to look for his seventh NFL team since entering the league just four years ago.

The Bears did not release Green because of any specific pick they made during the 2023 draft. In fact, through three rounds of selections, the Bears have still not added another end to their defensive line despite adding two defensive tackles — Gervon Dexter Sr. and Zacch Pickens — on the second day of the draft. It seems likely, though, that more defensive ends will find their way onto Chicago’s roster in the coming days between the final rounds of the draft and the wave of undrafted rookie signings that will follow.

The fourth round of the 2023 NFL draft begins at noon ET on Saturday, April 29.

Bears Add Pair of Defensive Tackles on Day 2 of Draft

The Bears did not invest in a new pass rusher with any of their three picks in the second and third rounds of the draft, but they did find a pair of “hybrid” defensive tackles who could become integral parts of their defensive line as soon as the 2023 season.

On Friday, Chicago used the 53rd overall pick to select Florida’s Gervon Dexter Sr. and then double-dipped at the position 11 picks later when they cashed in the 64th overall pick on South Carolina’s Zacch Pickens. Both are interior defensive linemen capable of playing either the three-technique or nose tackle roles and both are fantastic athletes who, with proper development, have the potential to develop into stars for the Bears.

“I can be one of the greatest if I check all my boxes,” Pickens told media following his selection on April 28. “If I do everything right — and I know I will — I can be one of the greats. And I’m not holding that back. I’m so for real. If I check all the boxes and when I do check all the boxes, I promise you I’m going to be the best defensive interior tackle. And that’s exactly what I’m going to bring. My best each and every day.”

What Pass Rushers Could Appeal to Bears on Day 3?

The Bears will be the first team on the clock, barring a trade, when the third day of the 2023 draft officially kicks off at noon ET, and it is quite possible that finding a rookie pass rusher for their young roster will be at the top of their to-do list. They also have double picks in both the fourth and seventh rounds, giving them a little flexibility to take chances and potentially move around for a target they especially like.

So, which ones still on the board make the most sense for the Bears?

Northwestern’s Adetomiwa Adebawore is an interesting name to monitor. He was projected to go as early as the first round coming into the draft but has startlingly remained on the board through the first three rounds. If the Bears believe he can be a fit for them off the edge — instead of as an interior piece, as most scouts project him to play — then it could be worth circling back to him on Day 3. After all, Bears general manager Ryan Poles loves versatile defensive linemen with high-end athletic profiles.

The Bears might also want to consider Missouri’s Isaiah McGuire. The 6-foot-4, 268-pound power rusher might not have the most complete game at this stage of his career, but he is long and strong and aggressively gets the job done against the run. Even if the Bears needed a full year to draw out his potential, he would make for a valuable addition to their rotation behind DeMarcus Walker and Trevis Gipson — and, perhaps, another veteran free agent once the draft comes and goes.

Read More