Bears Rumors

Bears Place G Cody Whitehair On IR, Designate WR N’Keal Harry For Return

The Bears will be without their most experienced offensive line starter for a while. They moved left guard Cody Whitehair to injured reserve Wednesday.

Whitehair, who is Chicago’s longest-tenured O-lineman by a considerable margin, suffered a knee injury during the team’s Week 4 loss to the Giants. The Bears are also opening N’Keal Harry‘s IR-return window. Harry will return to practice Wednesday, starting his 21-day activation clock. The Bears are expecting Whitehair back this season, Matt Eberflus said.

Also the only Bears blocker on a notable contract (five years, $51.25MM), Whitehair has been a starter throughout his seven-year run with the franchise. The Bears took Whitehair in the 2016 second round, and after an extensive run at center, the team moved the Kansas State product to guard. This will be a rare stay off the Bears’ 53-man roster for Whitehair, who has missed only two games in his career.

The rebuilding team has been using Lucas Patrick and Teven Jenkins in a right guard timeshare, but Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune expects that to cease for the time being. Patrick will likely slide to left guard to replace Whitehair, leaving Jenkins — whom the Bears have moved around the formation since drafting him in the 2021 second round — on the right side. A poor practice led Jenkins, who had started the first two games at right guard for the Bears, to the bench, Biggs adds. But the Oklahoma State product remained in the team’s rotation over the past two weeks. Whitehair’s injury will open the door to an extended audition for the player the previous regime viewed as a potential long-term left tackle.

Placed on IR shortly after roster cutdown, Harry would be eligible for an a Week 5 return. It remains to be seen if the Bears will deem their offseason trade acquisition ready. Harry underwent ankle surgery in mid-August and was believed to be facing a two-month recovery timetable. The Bears designating the ex-Patriots first-rounder for return certainly appears to show Harry is on schedule.

The Bears’ passing attack has plunged into a strange place. Justin Fields has set 21st-century lows to start his second season, with his 34 completions and 67 attempts both checking in below any quarterback this century through four games (among four-game starters). Any receiving help the second-year quarterback can get will be a bonus. The Bears did not make big-ticket receiver investments this offseason, instead taking a number of fliers. Harry, obtained for a 2024 seventh-round pick, was among them.

Harry began both the 2019 and ’21 seasons on IR and has a history of ankle trouble; an ankle malady led the Arizona State alum to IR as a rookie. Harry’s initial NFL injury threw off his development in New England’s then-complex offense. He started last season on IR because of a shoulder issue. The big-bodied target caught just 12 passes for 184 yards last season.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/4/22

Today’s practice squad moves:

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Bears Sign K Michael Badgley

OCTOBER 2: Badgley will serve as the Bears’ kicker for Week 4. Santos has been ruled out (Twitter link via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune).

OCTOBER 1, 12:03pm: The Bears signed Badgley to their practice squad but bumped him to their active roster via a gameday elevation maneuver. Both Badgley and Santos are on Chicago’s Week 4 roster. Badgley would revert to the Bears’ P-squad following their Giants matchup. Santos is not flying with the Bears to New York, though a separate flight — as he remains questionable to play — could conceivably commence later.

OCTOBER 1, 10:53am: Michael Badgley‘s two-workout week will produce a gig. The Bears are adding the veteran kicker Saturday, according to his agent (on Twitter).

Joining Josh Lambo and Brian Johnson in working out for the Bears on Friday, Badgley may soon be in position to kick with his new team. Cairo Santos was away from the team Thursday and Friday for personal reasons. With the Bears not having a kicker on their practice squad, they needed to scan the market quickly. If this is a P-squad deal for Badgley, the Bears have until this afternoon to promote him to their active roster — if Santos is indeed out of the picture for Week 4.

This will be Badgley’s first gig since last season, when he kicked in 12 games for the Colts. The former Chargers primary option began his 2021 slate with the Titans, but they moved on after one game. Badgley still found his way to Indianapolis after Rodrigo Blankenship‘s injury. After missing a Week 1 field goal in Tennessee and misfiring on an extra point with Tennessee, Badgley was better as a Colt. He went 18-for-21 on field goals and 39-for-39 on PATs during his Indy stay.

Badgley, 27, began his career as a Colts UDFA in 2018 but ended up beginning his in-game career in Los Angeles. The ex-Miami Hurricane ended up replacing Caleb Sturgis with the Chargers later in 2018 and kicked with Los Angeles for three seasons. Injury issues plagued the Money Badger in 2019, when he missed eight games, and he missed nine field goals (24-for-33) in 2020. The Bolts moved on in 2021, waiving Badgley after training camp.

The Bears have Santos signed to a three-year, $9MM deal, one that runs through the 2024 season. Santos, 30, has been Chicago’s primary kicker since 2020. Badgley also worked out for the Chiefs this week, but Kansas City went with Matthew Wright as its latest Harrison Butker fill-in option.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/1/22

Today’s minor moves around the league, including practice squad elevations for tomorrow’s action:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Bears Audition Michael Badgley, Josh Lambo

The Bears may need a kicker for their Week 4 game, and they are turning to the workout circuit to find a fill-in option. The team excused Cairo Santos from practice Thursday for personal reasons, per the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs, and the veteran specialist was not there Friday.

With no kicker currently on the Bears’ 16-man practice squad, outside help appears necessary. Michael Badgley, Josh Lambo and Brian Johnson took part in a Friday workout, Biggs adds (via Twitter). Santos, 31, has been the Bears’ kicker since 2020. Via the three-year extension he signed in 2021, Santos is signed through the 2024 season.

Badgley, Lambo and Johnson kicked in the NFL last season. None entered this season with a gig. Both Lambo and Badgley began their careers with the Chargers; Badgley played as a Colts replacement option last season, while Lambo was with the Jaguars from 2017-21. The team moved in a different direction this year, ditching both Lambo and top 2021 option Matthew Wright.

Lambo, 31, only kicked in seven Jaguars games from 2020-21 but was the team’s full-timer for most of Doug Marrone‘s HC tenure. He led the NFL with a 97% make rate during his most recent full season (2019), going 33-for-34, but missed each of his three field goal tries last season. Lambo’s Jacksonville stay represents his longest as a pro; it will likely be most remembered for his Urban Meyer conflict. Lambo has sued the Jags, alleging Meyer kicked him while he was warming up for a preseason game. Jacksonville released Lambo in October 2021.

Signed to replace an injured Rodrigo Blankenship midway through last season, Badgley made 86% of his tries (18 of 21) in Indianapolis. One of the Saints’ four options in their Wil Lutz-less season, Johnson also kicked for Washington in 2021. Johnson has yet to miss a field goal as a pro, going 10-for-10 as a rookie. This has been a two-workout week for Badgley, who auditioned for the Chiefs with ex-Jags teammate Wright. The latter landed the job — a spot on Kansas City’s P-squad.

2022 NFL Cap Space, By Team

As we exit September, trade rumors will become a steady NFL topic. This year’s deadline falls on Nov. 1. That will return cap-space discussions to the forefront. Here is how every team stacks up financially going into October, via Over The Cap.

  1. Cleveland Browns: $35.94MM
  2. Philadelphia Eagles: $10.89MM
  3. Denver Broncos: $10.67MM
  4. Carolina Panthers: $10.47MM
  5. Las Vegas Raiders: $10.35MM
  6. Dallas Cowboys: $9.25MM
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers: $8.64MM
  8. Green Bay Packers: $8.57MM
  9. Indianapolis Colts: $7.97MM
  10. Atlanta Falcons: $7.92MM
  11. New York Jets: $6.97MM
  12. Chicago Bears: $6.84MM
  13. San Francisco 49ers: $6.75MM
  14. Miami Dolphins: $6.51MM
  15. Arizona Cardinals: $6.25MM
  16. Los Angeles Chargers: $5.83MM
  17. New York Giants: $5.49MM
  18. Jacksonville Jaguars: $5.41MM
  19. Los Angeles Rams: $5.38MM
  20. Baltimore Ravens: $4.51MM
  21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $3.87MM
  22. New England Patriots: $3.5MM
  23. Cincinnati Bengals: $3.16MM
  24. New Orleans Saints: $2.86MM
  25. Detroit Lions: $2.64MM
  26. Washington Commanders: $2.58MM
  27. Buffalo Bills: $2.44MM
  28. Tennessee Titans: $2.41MM
  29. Seattle Seahawks: $2.28MM
  30. Kansas City Chiefs: $2.12MM
  31. Houston Texans: $1.64MM
  32. Minnesota Vikings: $1.47MM

The Eagles’ number is certainly far closer to the Vikings’ last-place figure than what the Browns have stockpiled. Cleveland would stand to have room to augment its 2022 roster, via a patient free agent or a trade. That could depend on where Jacoby Brissett has the team stationed going into the Nov. 1 deadline. But the Browns also appear to be preparing for their Deshaun Watson future. Watson’s unprecedented contract spikes from a $9.4MM cap number (2022) to a record-shattering $54.99MM numbers from 2023-26. As that reality awaits, the Browns rolling over cap space to 2023 would be prudent.

With Sterling Shepard‘s ACL tear moving the veteran wide receiver to IR, the Giants will need to both cover that cost ($6.3MM) and add a contract to fill the roster spot. Every team will go through versions of that issue this season, as injuries pile up. The Giants are prepared to eat a significant chunk of Kenny Golladay‘s 2022 base salary ($13MM) to move him, eyeing an escape from his $4.5MM 2023 guarantee. No takers have emerged, though it will be interesting to see if a market for the former Pro Bowler forms once injuries affect more teams’ receiver situations.

Since their Jimmy Garoppolo restructure, the 49ers agreed to a two-year extension with Dre Greenlaw. The team is not expected to extend Nick Bosa until 2023, however. The Texans, Falcons, Bears and Eagles all sit north of $60MM in dead money, meaning more than a quarter of their respective cap space is tied to players no longer on the roster. Watson, Matt Ryan and Khalil Mack are responsible for massive dead-money hits on the Houston, Atlanta and Chicago payrolls. Philadelphia still has Alshon Jeffery, Malik Jackson and Brandon Brooks dead money on its cap sheet.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/28/22

Here are the practice squad signings and releases for today:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

  • Signed: OLB Gerri Green

Bears Place WR Byron Pringle On IR

The Bears’ passing game has been the league’s worst so far, and it will be shorthanded for the time being. The team announced on Tuesday that wideout Byron Pringle has been placed on IR. As a result, he will be sidelined for at least the next four weeks. 

Pringle injured his calf during Sunday’s game against the Texans. He made one catch in the game, only his second of the season as he begins his tenure in Chicago, the team which ranks last in the league with an average of only 99 passing yards per game.

The former UDFA spent the first three years of his career with the Chiefs. He saw an increased workload with each passing season, culminating in a 49% snap share last year. With the increased opportunity, Pringle put up carer-highs across the board, totaling 568 yards and five touchdowns on 42 catches. In free agency, he followed new Bears general manager Ryan Poles to the Windy City on a one-year, $6MM deal.

This marks the second significant injury Chicago is dealing with at the position. N’Keal Harry, whom the team traded for from the Patriots in July, is still on the mend from the ankle surgery he underwent last month. He was initially expected to miss at least the first two months of the season, so the Bears are likely to be without two of their top pass-catchers for the foreseeable future.

In their absence, Chicago will lean more heavily (inasmuch as the team’s low-volume passing attack will allow) on the likes of No. 1 Darnell Mooneyfellow free agent signing Equanimeous St. Brown and third-round rookie Velus Jones Jr. With the spot opened up by the move, the Bears signed linebacker Joe Thomas to the 53-man roster from their practice squad. He appeared in Sunday’s contest after being a game-day elevation, seeing action both on defense and special teams.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/24/22

Lots of moves leading into gameday. Remember that players promoted from the practice squad for games will revert back to the practice squad after:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders