The Chicago Bears waived 14 players on Sunday as part of a first round of league-mandated roster cuts that required teams to be at or below 75 players by Tuesday afternoon. Following their initial cuts, the Bears were left with one move yet to make, announcing an injury settlement with second-year QB Matt Blanchard in the final hour after deciding to waive him.
Blanchard fractured a knuckle on his left, non-throwing hand in the Bears’ second preseason exhibition game against the San Diego Chargers, which was set to leave him sidelined for an undetermined amount of time. The Bears’ options were either to send him to the PUP list or cut him and agree upon an injury settlement.
Keeping a third QB on an active NFL roster is usually not the norm, but keeping an injured third QB would have been far more abnormal. Likewise, sending a third-option player to the PUP list to start the regular season would have been an indication the Bears intended to either send him to IR after six weeks or keep him on the active roster if healthy.
In the end, the Bears chose to cut Blanchard. But they may have hopes of re-signing him to the eight-man practice squad for what would be his second and final year of eligibility there. They will not be able to do so, however, until the settlement period has expired, which will not be until after Week-10 of the regular season.
At that point, Blanchard will have the opportunity to latch on with another team, assuming there’s interest, and assuming he chooses to do so. It’s an important note to make, because as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune points out, he had suitors others than the Bears following last season.
Instead of leaving for another team, and after spending 12 weeks of the 2012 season on the Bears’ scout team, Blanchard re-signed with Chicago and has since received praise from rookie head coach and so-called QB guru Marc Trestman. "I think everyone knows how we felt about Matt Blanchard when he was here," Trestman told the media. "I really liked his progress."
I certainly wouldn’t be shocked to see Blanchard explore his options elsewhere if healthy 10 weeks into the regular season, but it should be noted that with the Bears he’d be in a situation close to his lifelong home where the starting quarterback is in a contract year and the backup isn’t likely to hang around much longer. In addition to all of that, he’s impressed his coaches here.
If Blanchard’s shot in the NFL is going to come anywhere, Chicago might someday be as good a place as any.
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