When writing about the Bears and Cowboys inactives for their Monday Night Football game in week four, I had this to say about about the Bears' decision to make offensive lineman Chris Williams inactive for the game:
What's particularly alarming is that Chris Williams is inactive, and is not believed to have an injury. Talk about being in the doghouse. J'Marcus Webb certainly hasn't played well, and one more bad performance could put him on the bench. But, if that were to happen, apparently veteran tackle Jonathan Scott would move in to his place, rather than Williams. I think it's very fair to wonder if Phil Emery will shop Williams before the week 8 trade deadline. The fact that he can't even get playing time on the Bears' crappy offensive line certainly can't look good to teams, but remember that he was a first round pick and looked solid at guard last season for the Bears. Some team may be willing to give the Bears a late-round pick for him. Sure, the Bears would just get a late-round pick back, but that's way more valuable than an inactive tackle in the team's doghouse, and out of the team's future plans (it would appear).
Well, apparently (and understandably) Phil Emery was unable to find any team that would offer even a seventh round pick for Williams, and decided to release the offensive lineman on Tuesday.
LM: #Bears have terminated contract of OL Chris Williams & re-signed CB Zackary Bowman.Williams was selected by the Bears in the first round (14th overall pick) in the 2008 NFL Draft out of Vanderbilt. Incredibly, right tackle Gabe Carimi is the only first round pick (2011) remaining on the Bears' roster from the Jerry Angelo era (and Carimi's struggling so far himself). This is precisely why Angelo was fired in the offseason.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 16, 2012
The 27-year-old Williams started 38 games over five seasons with the Bears, playing both offensive tackle positions, as well as left guard. He went into training camp hoping to beat out J'Marcus Webb for the left tackle position, but failed to do so, and even after Webb struggled mightily in the first few games of the season, the organization still didn't feel that it was worth giving Williams a shot at left tackle. And then when Williams was inactive for the Dallas and Jacksonville games, the writing was on the wall for him to end up off the roster soon.
Williams was only making $1 million this season, so this wasn't a move made for financial reasons. Emery simply made this move to do what he felt was best for the 53-man roster. Had Angelo still been general manager, I fully believe that he would've held onto Williams as long as possible, giving Williams every chance to prove that the draft selection was a good one (or at least not as much of a "bust" pick as it currently appears to be).
Like Williams, Zack Bowman was also drafted in the 2008 draft, as a fifth-rounder out of Nebraska. He started 12 games for the Bears in 2009, intercepting six passes. However, his performance at cornerback wasn't nearly as impressive in the following three seasons, and the Bears let him walk in free agency this past offseason. He then signed with the Vikings in March, but was waived by them in early September.
Bowman was always a solid special teams player for the Bears, though, and that's the reason Emery brought him in.
Two of the Bears' core special teams players in linebacker Blake Costanzo (thumb) and cornerback Sherrick McManis (hip) are dealing with injuries that have their availability up in the air for the Monday night game against the Lions. So, bringing Bowman in makes perfect sense, as he could replace one of them on special teams if need be, and could replace McManis at the bottom of the cornerback depth chart on defense. And Bowman knows what the Bears do on defense and special teams more than any other players that are currently available free agents do, so he could step in right away.
The Bears also released defensive end Aston Whiteside from the practice squad.
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