Dante Pettiswill not play a second Bears campaign. The team announced on Friday that the receiver and returner has been placed on IR.
As a result of that move, Pettis will not be eligible to play in 2023. He signed with Chicago last offseason and contributed both on offense and special teams. He registered 19 catches for 245 yards and three touchdowns, while serving as the Bears’ punt returner. He ran back 18 punts on an average of 9.1 per return.
The former second-rounder opened training camp on the non-football injury list, and he was only activated earlier this month. That gave him limited opportunies to earn a place in Chicago’s new-look receiver room or the primary punt return gig. Both a depth role on offense and a more prominent one on special teams was something Pettis was in competition for with 2022 third-rounder Velus Jones. After finding himself on the roster bubble, the latter is now in better position to secure a spot during next week’s cutdowns.
Pettis re-signed for the veteran minimum in April after his debut Bears season. Today’s news will keep him sidelined for the campaign and hurt his value on the open market next offseason. After flashing potential as a rookie with 467 yards and five touchdowns, the Washington alum has failed to replicate that success during his subsequent campaigns, which were also spent with the 49ers and Giants. Another low-cost deal no doubt awaits him upon his return to full health.
In addition to moving on from Pettis, the Bears waived fellow wideout and returner Joe Reedwith an injury designation. The latter, a 2020 Chargers fifth-round pick, made 11 appearances as a rookie but has yet to see any regular season action since then. He will revert to IR if he goes unclaimed.
Isaiah Wilson hasn’t had an NFL gig since he was released by the Giants in January of 2022. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweets that the free agent lineman was slapped with a three-game suspension, but it’s uncertain what led to the temporary ban. Wilson was a first-round pick by the Titans in 2020 but got into only one game with Tennessee before getting shipped off to Miami. He was waived by Miami after showing up late to his team physical, and his practice squad stint with New York only lasted one season.
Max Garcia is an experienced addition to the Saints OL room, with the veteran having most recently started seven of his 12 appearances with the Cardinals in 2022. The 31-year-old has 59 games of starting experience, although Pro Football Focus was iffy on his production last year (63rd among 77 qualifying offensive guards).
Following a three-year stint in Cleveland, Terrance Mitchell has spent the past two seasons bouncing around the NFL. He got into 14 games (13 starts) for the Texans in 2021, finishing with 60 tackles and 10 passes defended. He spent the 2022 season with the Titans, finishing with 39 tackles in 11 games (five starts). 49ers fifth-round pick Darrell Luter Jr. is set to miss some time with a knee injury, providing Mitchell with an opportunity during training camp.
The Bears figure to have an improved receiving corps in 2023 given the team’s moves at the position this offseason. One returning member of the unit could face a signficant challenge to remain on the roster during training camp, however.
Velus Joneswill need to prove his worth as both a kick and punt returner during the remainder of the offseason, writes Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic (subscription required). Jones was a third-round pick last year, something which was met by some with surprise given his age (25) at the time, and raised expectations for him both on offense and special teams as a rookie. The Tennessee alum was used as a receiver, rusher and returner, but his main impact was in the latter category.
Jones totaled just 210 scrimmage yards on offense, seeing limited opportunities in a Bears offense which featured more established players ahead of him on the depth chart and which was among the league’s most run-heavy. He did find success in the kick return game, though, recording 607 yards on 22 runbacks (good for an average of 27.6 per return).
With respect to punt returns, though, veteran Dante Pettisoccupied the Bears’ lead role. He returned 18 punts for 163 scoreless yards, and that special teams position is one he would likely be limited to in 2023 if he were to remain in the Windy City following roster cuts. Jones figures to have a higher overall upside and is under contract for the next three years, but Fishbain notes he will need to put together a notable training camp performance to avoid finding himself a cut candidate.
Chicago’s WR room is of course topped by D.J. Moore, part of the return the team got from the Panthers in the blockbuster trade involving this year’s No. 1 pick. Moore was a must-have for the Bears in large part due to his contract status, and his addition should boost what was the league’s least-productive passing offense in 2022. When at full health, Chicago will also have Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool, Equanimeous St. Brownand fourth-round rookie Tyler Scott available at the receiver spot.
If he remains a gadget-type player on offense, Jones will be hard-pressed to earn much in the way of playing time and touches this season. With a role mostly limited to special teams, the presence of Pettis could lead to a legitimate competition for a single returner role. As a result, Jones’ footing on the Bears’ roster may not be as secure as his age and draft stock would initially suggest heading into Year 2.
Jimmie Ward, S (Texans): Two years, $13MM. The deal, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, has a guaranteed amount of $8.5MM consisting of a $4MM signing bonus, Ward’s 2023 base salary of $2.5MM, and $2MM of his 2024 base salary (worth $5.5MM total). Ward will receive a per game active roster bonus of $29,411 for a potential season total of $500,000. The contract also includes an annual playing time incentive. If Ward plays 60% of the team’s defensive snaps, he’ll receive an additional $250,000. He’ll get two more $250,000 bonuses for reaching both the 70% and 80% snap share totals, as well.
Denzel Perryman, LB (Texans): One year, $2.6MM. We were aware that Perryman could push the value of his deal to $3.5MM with incentives, but thanks to Wilson, we now know how he can do that. The additional $900,000 is based on playing time. Perryman can earn $300,000 bonuses for reaching each of the 60%, 70% and 80% thresholds of defensive snap shares for the Texans.
Eric Rowe, S (Panthers): One year, $1.32MM. The deal, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $852,500 consisting of a $152,500 signing bonus and $700,000 of Rowe’s base salary (worth a total of $1.17MM).
Kris Boyd, CB (Cardinals): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a signing bonus of $152,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM.
Dante Pettis, WR (Bears): One year, $1.23MM. The deal, according to Wilson, includes a signing bonus of $152,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM.
Troy Reeder, LB (Vikings): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $100,000 consisting partially of a $25,000 signing bonus. Reeder’s base salary will be $1.08MM, and he can receive an additional workout bonus $25,000 and a roster bonus of $102,500 if he’s active Week 1. The deal includes a per game active roster bonus of $6,029 for a potential season total of $102,500.
Drew Sample, TE (Bengals): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a signing bonus of $52,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM. Sample will also receive a roster bonus of $75,000 and a workout bonus of $25,000.
Armon Watts, DT (Steelers): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a signing bonus of $152,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM.
Elijah Wilkinson, OL (Cardinals): One year, $1.23MM. The deal, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $1.09MM consisting of a $152,500 signing bonus and $940,000 of Wilkinson’s base salary (worth a total of $1.08MM).
Khadarel Hodge, WR (Falcons): One year, $1.2MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a base salary of $1.08 and a roster bonus of $120,000 if he is active for Atlanta’s first game of the season. The deal also includes a per game active roster bonus of $7,500 for a potential season total of $127,500.
Chosen Anderson, WR (Dolphins): One year, $1.17MM. The deal, according to Wilson, includes a signing bonus of $152,500.
The Bears have made one major addition to their receiving corps already this offseason, but a familiar face will remain in the fold as well. The team announced on Monday that Dante Pettishas been re-signed on a one-year deal.
The 27-year-old signed in Chicago last offseason, making the Bears his third NFL employer. Pettis began his career with the 49ers, failing to live up to his second-round draft stock during his brief tenure there. His rookie campaign in San Francisco remains his most productive one on offense (27 catches, 467 yards, five touchdowns), though it wasn’t enough to prevent the team from waiving him in November 2020.
That move paved the way for the Washington product to join the Giants. New York presented an opportunity for Pettis to secure a larger workload, but his playing time remained that of a rotational player in the Big Apple both in 2020 and his only full campaign there in 2021. He thus arrived in Chicago last year with tempered expectations.
On offense, he was once again in a role other than that of a full-time starter, logging a 51% snap share. Pettis was able to translate that into his second most productive campaign, though, recording a 19/245/3 statline. His three touchdowns ranked second on the team, but his contributions weren’t limited to the offensive side of the ball last season.
Pettis operated as the Bears’ primary punt returner in 2022, the first time he had held that role for any significant span since his rookie campaign. He totaled 163 yards on 18 runbacks, good for an average of 9.1 yards per return. That effectiveness fell short of his special teams prowess showed in college, but it will be enough for the 6-1, 195-pounder to remain in the Windy City for at least one more year.
The Bears entered the offseason in need of pass catching upgrades, something which was achieved with D.J. Moorebeing part of the package they received from the Panthers in return for the first overall pick in this year’s draft. Pettis will be in line for a much smaller workload than Moore, of course, but he will look to at least replicate his 2022 performance as the Bears look to take a needed step forward in the passing game this year.
Pettis was a second-round pick by the 49ers in 2018, and he had a solid showing during his rookie campaign, hauling in 27 receptions for 467 yards and five touchdowns. Since then, the receiver has collected only 15 receptions for 185 yards and three touchdowns during stints with the 49ers and Giants.
After getting waived by San Francisco during the 2020 campaign, Pettis landed in New York. In one-plus seasons with the Giants, Pettis averaged 32.6 yards per game in five contests while adding a pair of touchdowns. The receiver’s 2021 season ended on injured reserve after he suffered a shoulder injury.
Dante Pettis is done for the year. Giants head coach Joe Judge told reporters that the wideout’s shoulder injury will knock him out for the rest of the season (per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan on Twitter).
Pettis landed on injured reserve earlier this month, leaving the door open for a potential return. However, it sounds like the player’s shoulder injury required surgery, and the recovery time will extend through the rest of the regular season.
The former second-round pick was barely relevant during his stint in San Francisco, and after getting waived last November, he was claimed by the Giants. Pettis appeared in two games down the stretch for New York in 2020, and he stayed with the organization throughout the offseason. He landed on the team’s practice squad following the end of the preseason, but he ended up seeing time in three games for the Giants in 2021, hauling in 10 receptions for 87 yards and one touchdown.