Mike Pennel

Bears Release Jeremiah Attaochu, Sign Mike Pennel

The Bears made a roster swap of eight-year veterans today, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, releasing linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu and signing defensive tackle Mike Pennel. Both defenders have spent their careers as role players, earning starts here and there without ever consistently serving as a starter on defense. 

Attaochu was a second-round pick for the Chargers back in 2014. He made an immediate impact in his NFL debut, recording a strip sack and a blocked punt. He had the best year of his career in his sophomore season. Attaochu started 12 games that year, recording a career-highs in sacks (6.0), tackles for loss (15.0), quarterback hits (17), and tackles (44 solo and 11 assisted). He added a forced fumble and one pass defensed for good measure. In his last season with the Chargers, Attaochu only started one game and was limited to eight appearances due to ankle and foot injuries.

Attaochu signed as a free agent with San Francisco but was released before the season started. He was quickly picked up by the Jets but was only used in a limited capacity recording 2.0 sacks in eleven games. The next offseason, Attaochu signed with the Chiefs as a free agent but, once again, was released on September 1st, before the season.

Attaochu stayed unsigned a bit longer this time, finally joining the Broncos in October of the 2019 NFL season. He did enough during his first year with the Broncos to get re-signed on another one-year deal. During his two-year tenure in Denver, Attaochu started ten games, recording 8.5 sacks, 11.0 tackles for loss, and 14 quarterback hits, also forcing and recovering one fumble a piece.

His resurgence in Denver led the Bears to sign Attaochu to a two-year deal last offseason. He played fairly limited snaps as a Bear in five games before suffering a pectoral tear that would sideline him for the rest of the season. By waiting to cut Attaochu after June 1, the Bears reduced their dead money over the next two years from $2.25MM to $1.05MM.

In a corresponding move, the Bears brought in the 31-year-old Pennel. After going undrafted in 2014, Pennel has stayed an impressive eight years in the league, starting as a bit of a reserve defensive lineman before evolving into more of a rotational contributor over the last five years of his career. Pennel has 16 starts over his career, along with 2.0 sacks and 176 total career tackles. He’ll likely compete with Khyiris Tonga for playing time behind Angelo Blackson and Justin Jones in Chicago.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/5/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/15/21

Today’s minor NFL transactions:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Tennessee Titans

Bears Finalize Roster

The Bears reduced their roster to 53 players today, making the following moves:

Released

Released from IR

Waived

Waived/Injured

Bears Place DT Mike Pennel On IR

Mike Pennel will not end up playing for the Bears this season. The team moved the defensive tackle to IR Tuesday, also placing safety Jordan Lucas on its season-ending injured list.

Both Pennel and Lucas were members of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl-winning squad two years ago. While Pennel also contributed for the Chiefs’ 2020 AFC champion team last season, Lucas opted out. These IR placements will ensure neither plays with the Bears this season, though both could resurface in 2021 in the event injury settlements take place.

Pennel participated in the Bears’ minicamp on a tryout basis, and the team was sufficiently impressed. The 30-year-old defender has seven years’ experience, having played with the Packers and Jets before his Kansas City stay. The former UDFA has enjoyed quality stretches, which have continued to generate interest. His 2019 arrival helped a Chiefs defense on a historically bad run early that season.

Lucas started four games for the 2018 Chiefs, who acquired him via trade with the Dolphins. Those are his only four career starts. The Bears signed the ex-UDFA in 2020, but he is unlikely to play in a regular-season game for the team.

Chicago also waived running back C.J. Marable, guard Dareuan Parker and tackle Badara Traore to move its roster down to 80 players by Tuesday’s deadline.

Bears Sign DT Mike Pennel

Mike Pennel has found his next gig. The veteran defensive tackle is signing a one-year deal with the Bears, according to his agent, Andy Simms (via Twitter).

[RELATED: NT Goldman No-Shows Bears Mandatory Minicamp]

The 2014 undrafted free agent has managed to put together a solid seven-year career, starting games for the Packers, Jets, and Chiefs. He spent the past two seasons in Kansas City, including a 2019 campaign where he started a pair of playoff games en route to a Super Bowl championship. After serving a two-game ban to start the 2020 season, Pennel saw time in 14 games (one starts) with the Chiefs last year, collecting 29 tackles and one QB hit. He also saw time in each of Kansas City’s three playoff contests, collecting a single tackle.

In total, Pennel has seen time in 91 career games (16 starts), collecting 155 tackles, two sacks, and 13 QB hits. The veteran has also appeared in 10 playoff games, collecting 11 tackles.

We heard earlier this week that the 30-year-old was trying out for the Bears. The team could be looking for some extra reinforcement along the defensive line after nose tackle Eddie Goldman decided to no-show mandatory minicamp.

Jake Butt, E.J. Gaines, Mike Pennel At Bears’ Minicamp On Tryout Basis

The Bears have invited some well-known guests to their minicamp. They are working out five players — including tight end Jake Butt, cornerback E.J. Gaines and defensive tackle Mike Pennel — at their three-day mandatory session, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets.

This marks Butt’s second known workout of the offseason. The Michigan alum auditioned for the Cardinals recently. Although Butt starred for the Wolverines not that long ago, he has battled rampant injury trouble as a pro. The former Broncos draftee now has three career ACL tears, two coming in Denver, and has played in just eight games in four seasons.

Mixed signals have come out of Chicago regarding the team’s interest in adding a veteran cornerback. The Bears were believed to be interested in Bashaud Breeland, but he signed with the Vikings, and had Steven Nelson on the radar. But new DC Sean Desai also expressed confidence in his in-house cover men. Gaines has 38 career starts but has not played in a game since the 2018 season. The former Rams draftee opted out in 2020.

Pennel leads this group in experience. The veteran interior D-lineman spent the past two years with the Chiefs, making an impact for the two-time reigning AFC champions’ run defense. Pennel, 30, played 14 games with Kansas City last season. The former Packers and Jets defender has played seven NFL seasons.

The Bears are also working out two players who recently participated in The Spring League — tight end Sal Cannella and Tyrone Wheatley Jr. The team lists Wheatley as an offensive lineman, though the second-generation NFL hopeful played tight end at Michigan — as one of Butt’s backups — and Stony Brook. Chicago’s minicamp is scheduled to run through Thursday.

Chiefs’ Mike Pennel Suspended 2 Games

Already set to be without Bashaud Breeland for four games, the Chiefs are also slated to begin their Super Bowl title defense without defensive tackle Mike Pennel.

The NFL suspended Pennel two games on Tuesday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Pennel played in 11 Chiefs contests last season, including each of their three playoff games.

Kansas City re-signed Pennel to a one-year deal in March, doing so after the 330-pound interior defensive lineman played a key role in the team’s late-season defensive performance. Pennel played well as a run defender for the Chiefs, with Pro Football Focus giving him a top-20 grade in this area among interior D-linemen last season. Although Pennel only played 154 regular-season snaps, he saw action on 52 defensive plays in the playoffs.

This will be Pennel’s seventh NFL season. The Chiefs initially signed him in October 2019, doing so after the Patriots cut him during training camp. He helped turn the tide after Kansas City’s run defense delivered a historic futility stretch during the season’s first half.

Contract Details: Anderson, Pennel, Alexander

A handful of contract details to pass along:

Chiefs Re-Sign DL Mike Pennel, FB Anthony Sherman

The defending Super Bowl champs have re-signed defensive lineman Mike Pennel to a one-year pact, as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports (via Twitter). Pennel said last month that he wanted to return to the Chiefs, and he got his wish.

Besides winning a Super Bowl with KC — and his interception-causing hit on 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo was a big reason for that win — the organization also helped to revitalize Pennel’s career. Following two underwhelming seasons with the Jets, the lineman signed a two-year deal with the Patriots last offseason. However, he didn’t make it to the regular season with New England, and Pennel still found himself out of work in mid-October.

He eventually caught on with the Chiefs, and he proceeded to compile 24 tackles and one sack in eight games for the team. He also appeared in each of Kansas City’s three playoff games, starting two of them, and he earned high praise for his work against the run. Pelissero reports that Pennel had other offers — the Cowboys were said to be in on him — but he will try to recapture the magic with the Chiefs.

Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo Sports reports that KC is also re-signing FB Anthony Sherman to a one-year deal (Twitter link). Sherman has appeared in every game for the Chiefs since he joined the club in 2013, and he earned a Pro Bowl bid in 2018. His offensive snaps have decreased dramatically since Patrick Mahomes became the starting QB, but he remains a critical part of the special teams unit.