Bears’ biggest cut-day storylines have nothing to do with cutsPatrick Finleyon August 30, 2021 at 8:07 pm

The most interesting storylines of Bears’ cut day — in which teams must trim their rosters to 53 players by 3 p.m. — have little to do with actual cuts. Four high-profile players could have their fates decided by the following questions:

Will Tarik Cohen start the season on the PUP list?

Looks like it. Cohen isn’t close to returning from October knee surgery on his torn right ACL. If the Bears put him on the Physically Unable to Perform list by Tuesday’s deadline, it would free up a roster spot — but also guarantee Cohen misses the first six weeks of the season.

Cohen might not be ready any sooner.

“He’s not where he needs to be right now,” coach Matt Nagy said Monday. “But he is improving, and the only thing that we can do is keep grinding with that rehab. That’s all he can do. He’s unbelievable in the meetings — I mean, he’s the same as he’s always been. Physically, we’ve got to just keep taking it day by day — and I’m not going to put a timeline on that.”

Players recover at different speeds: Giants running back Saquon Barkley suffered a similar injury a week before Cohen did and figures to play in Week 1. Nagy danced when asked directly whether Cohen had a second procedure done, but then insinuated that he did.

“I think he just got to a point where there was a little bit of, like, the scar tissue and just the healing and all of that,” he said.

Will the Bears trade Nick Foles before the deadline?

Probably not. It takes just one team to show interest, but Foles has been vocal about not wanting to go anywhere unless it’s a good fit for him.

It’s more expensive for the Bears to cut him than to keep him. When the Bears traded for Foles, they agreed to pay him $4 million in base salary and $4 million in a roster bonus each year from 2020-2022. All of that is promised him if he gets cut except for next year’s base salary, which is guaranteed at $1 million.

He put on a good show, albeit against third- and fourth-stringers, in the second half Saturday. Foles went 10-for-13 for 142 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 151.3.

“I was really excited for the way that he came in and played,” Nagy said. “I thought, regardless of where he played in the game and who he played with and who he played against, he ran the offense efficiently.”

If the Bears keep Foles as the third-stringer, Nagy said he’ll handle it well.

“He’ll be the same as he’s been this whole time,” he said.

How can the Bears evaluate Desmond Trufant?

That’s a tough one. The veteran cornerback remained away from the team Monday. He’s been gone for about a week-and-a-half since going home to the state of Washington. His father’s funeral was Wednesday.

Nagy didn’t mention Trufant’s name when listing his depth at cornerback Monday; moments later, he was asked how the team can evaluate Trufant when he’s been away from the team.

“That’s one of the discussions we’ve got to go through [Monday night],” he said. “You want to be able to be available — and he has his situation too. It’s never an easy one.”

Will Teven Jenkins be on the 53-man roster?

Probably. In order for the rookie tackle to be eligible to return from back surgery later this season, the Bears need to put Jenkins on Tuesday’s 53-man roster. They can then transfer him on Injured Reserve.

That procedural move means complicates matters slightly. It would take 24 hours to fill Jenkins’ roster spot with a player waived by one of the 31 NFL teams — or with one of their own players who clears waivers. But it’s better than the alternative, which is admitting Jenkins has no chance to return this year.

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