Bears to shuffle roster again with waiver claims, free-agent signings

The Bears continued tweaking their roster Wednesday by claiming two players off waivers and signing a free agent, NFL Network reported.

They signed returner and wide receiver Trent Taylor, who was released by the Bengals on Tuesday, and claimed defensive end Khalid Kareem (Colts) and safety Quindell Johnson (Rams).

They’ll need to clear three roster spots to make room, and NFL Network reported they waived backup defensive end Terrell Lewis for one of them.

Taylor, 29, returned 33 punts at an average of 10.3 yards and two kickoffs for the Bengals last season, plus he had six catches for 62 yards. The 49ers drafted him in the fifth round out of Louisiana Tech in 2017.

Kareem, 25, played four games on defense and special teams for the Colts last season, and Johnson, 23, is an undrafted rookie from Memphis.

The Bears were expected to consider a quarterback after cutting P.J. Walker and Nathan Peterman, leaving them with only undrafted rookie to back up Justin Fields, and many were available. Kellen Mond (Browns), Ben DiNucci (Broncos), Bailey Zappe (Patriots), Ian Book (Eagles) and Jake Fromm (Commanders) were among the options on waivers.

Several veterans were released Tuesday available to sign outright, including David Blough (Cardinals), Jeff Driskel (Cardinals), Josh Johnson (Ravens), Trevor Siemian (Bengals) and Tim Boyle (Jets).

The Bears claimed an NFL-high six players off waivers after the deadline last year, including a former first-round pick in offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood. They also claimed cornerback Josh Blackwell, linebacker Sterling Weatherford, defensive end Kingsley Jonathan, tight end Trevon Wesco and defensive tackle Armon Watts from the Vikings.

Each of them played at least four games, including Watts playing every game and making 12 starts. Blackwell also played 16 games, starting one. Of that group, only Blackwell is still on the team.

Leatherwood, the No. 17 overall pick in 2021, was waived at the deadline by the Raiders last season. The Bears claimed him, but he played just 32 snaps on offense and 11 on special teams in four games.

“Whenever it doesn’t work out with a player, you’re always disappointed,” coach Matt Eberflus said Tuesday. “We’re always very hopeful that it works out and we’re disappointed when it doesn’t. It wasn’t in the cards for him and for us at this time.”

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