Micah Baskerville

NFL Reserve/Futures Deals: 1/8/24

Many teams have started signing players to reserve/futures contracts, allowing organization to retain (routinely) young, practice squad players. Here are the latest reserve/futures contracts:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

  • OL Barry Wesley

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

  • LB Brandon Bouyer-Randle, WR Davion Davis, CB D’Angelo Mandell

Justin Fields To Play In Week 11; Bears To Activate RB Khalil Herbert From IR

NOVEMBER 18: The Bears made it official today, activating Herbert for the team’s Week 11 matchup in Detroit. It remains to be seen what Herbert’s role will be after he seemed to be firmly establishing himself as the lead back in the two games before his absence. Foreman has had a few decent performances since then while rookie Roschon Johnson has remained a change of pace back and Travis Homer has remained a special teamer.

The activation is the team’s eighth off of injured reserve this year, which is the limit for a season. If any other players are placed on IR, they will be forced to remain there for the rest of the year.

In addition to Herbert’s activation, the Bears announced their standard gameday practice squad elevations for tomorrow. They have selected linebacker Micah Baskerville and outside linebacker DeMarquis Gates to dress up against the Lions.

NOVEMBER 17: The Bears’ offense will see two significant reinforcements in time for Week 11. As expected, quarterback Justin Fields will suit up on Sunday as he was taken off the injury report. Running back Khalil Herbert, meanwhile, will be activated off IR, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network notes.

Fields has missed the past four games due to a thumb injury, but it was learned earlier this week that Chicago intended to bring the former first-rounder back into the fold. With that now confirmed, Fields can embark on a late-season stretch in which plenty of his post-2023 future will be determined. Recent indications have suggested Fields will need to convince the Bears’ brass – which was not in place when he was drafted – of his worth to avoid having the team draft a new signal-caller in April.

2023 has seen the 24-year-old continue to put up inconsistent numbers, and the thumb injury has added to his missed time. Fields is under contract through at least 2024, though the Bears could add one year to his rookie pact by exercising his fifth-year option this spring. Doing so would represent a sign of confidence in his progression, but the team is slated to have two high first-rounders in April’s draft. That would provide an opportunity to acquire a Fields successor and move on from the Ohio State alum. His play down the stretch will thus be worth watching closely.

Herbert was one of three players the Bears designated for return last week. The others – wideout Equanimeous St. Brown and cornerback Josh Blackwell were activated, but Herbert was not. The latter will notably represent the eighth and final IR activation used by Chicago this season. While their aggressiveness with using injured reserve as a means of stashing injured players has carried risk, Herbert’s return will be welcomed on the Bears’ offense.

The unit has struggled in a number of categories, although running production has not been one of them. The Bears rank fifth in the NFL with an average of 135 yards per game on the ground, and Herbert sits second on the team with 272 on the year. Free agent addition D’Onta Foreman has taken the lead in that department while logging a heavy workload in Herbert’s absence. It will be interesting to see how the RB snaps are divided with the team’s backfield returning to health.

The 3-7 Bears will aim to ride the return of Fields and Herbert to an uptick in offensive efficiency late in the year. With plenty at stake for the former (along with several members of the coaching staff and/or front office, in the view of many), Chicago will be a team to monitor in the closing weeks of the campaign.

Bears Activate LT Braxton Jones Off IR

More help is on the way for the Bears’ offensive line as a senior writer for the team, Larry Mayer, reports that Chicago has activated second-year offensive tackle Braxton Jones from injured reserve. After activating starting guard Teven Jenkins a month ago, the left side should continue to improve with the return of last year’s starting left tackle.

Jones became a Week 1 starter as a rookie last season despite making the jump to the NFL from Division I-FCS school Southern Utah. The fifth-round pick adjusted well, starting all 17 games and performing admirably. His sophomore season had a rockier start, though, as a Week 2 neck injury prompted the Bears to exercise excess caution and place him on IR.

In his place, Chicago has returned to a formerly displaced starter in Larry Borom, but through six starts in relief, Borom has consistently ranked in the bottom ten of qualifying NFL tackles in rankings provided by Pro Football Focus. The team took Tennessee rookie Darnell Wright in the first round of this year’s draft but placed him at right tackle, showing their confidence in Jones as their blindside blocker moving forward.

Even now, with Jenkins and Jones finally reuniting with the first-team unit, the Bears’ offensive line is still a bit banged up as starting right guard Nate Davis has already been declared out for the third straight week. Lucas Patrick, who has started in Davis’ place to past two games, will likely hear his name called to play with the starters once again.

In order to make room for Jones on the active roster, the Bears waived fellow 2022 draftee Doug Kramer, who was drafted a round after Jones last year. Kramer spent his entire rookie season on IR and then spent the first six weeks of this season on IR before being activate for Week 7. After only playing two snaps, Kramer sees his way off the roster. If he clears waivers, Chicago may choose to bring him back on the practice squad.

Speaking of the practice squad, the Bears also made the decision to promote linebacker Micah Baskerville from the practice squad as a standard gameday elevation for tomorrow. If he sees the field, it will be the undrafted LSU rookie’s NFL debut.

Wednesday NFL Transactions: NFC North

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These BearsLionsPackers and Vikings moves are noted below.

Chicago Bears

Placed on IR:




Signed to practice squad:

Detroit Lions



Signed to practice squad:

Green Bay Packers




Signed to practice squad:

Minnesota Vikings

Placed on IR:



Signed to practice squad:

Bears Set Initial Roster, Waive DE Trevis Gipson

The Bears have been slowly trimming down their squad over the past few days, and the front office has now officially landed on their initial roster. The Bears announced the following moves, some of which were previously reported:

Placed on IR:




The moves actually reduce Chicago’s roster to 52 players, so additions are certainly coming.

Trevis Gipson is a bit of a surprise cut after the former fifth-round pick got into 33 games (19 starts) for the Bears over the past two years. The defensive lineman showed some pass-rushing prowess during his rookie season, compiling seven sacks, seven tackles for loss, and seven QB hits. His numbers took a bit of a step back in 2022, with the Tulsa product finishing with only three sacks. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (via Twitter), the Bears worked on a trade for Gipson and had “teams involved” in the bidding but couldn’t come to terms before today’s roster deadline.

Trestan Ebner was another Bears draft pick that got into 17 games last season. The 2022 sixth-round pick ended up getting 26 touches on offense, collecting 62 yards from scrimmage while coughing up two fumbles. Ebner also returned 10 kickoffs for Chicago last season. The running back has been in concussion protocol since the early parts of the preseason, and there’s a chance he reverts to the Bears’ injured reserve if he goes unclaimed.

Bears Sign 14 UDFAs

After adding 10 rookies via the draft, the Bears have added another 14 first-year players via free agency. The Bears announced that they have signed 14 undrafted free agents:

Tyson Bagent had a prolific career at Shepherd, tossing 159 touchdowns in 53 games. The 6-foot-3 prospect has the size of a typical NFL quarterback, but his questionable decision-making and arm strength (coupled with his Division II status) led to him going undrafted. Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy got a closeup view of Bagent during the Senior Bowl.

Andre Szmyt left Syracuse as the school’s all-time leader in scoring. He converted 81 percent of his field goal attempts in college and 91 percent of his kicks from within 40 yards. Cairo Santos has connected on 89.7 percent of his FGAs over the past three seasons with the Bears, but the rookie should provide the veteran with a bit of competition in training camp.

Jalen Harris is the son of former Bears draft pick Sean Harris. The defensive lineman compiled 171 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, and 14 sacks in 56 games at Arizona before going undrafted last weekend. The rookie can find a role for himself as an edge on the Bears, with DeMarcus Walker, Rasheem Green, Trevis Gipson, and Dominique Robinson providing competition for the roster spots.