The Bears parted ways with 12 players on Sunday, getting their roster down to 78 players.
Most notably, the Bears waived running back Michael Ford and terminated the contracts of vested veterans Nate Collins and Adrian Wilson.
Ford was expected to be in the running for the No. 2 running back position during the offseason, but he quickly fell down the depth chart by the time the team got into training camp. He did not play a snap in Friday’s preseason loss in Seattle and had five carries for 15 yards in the previous two games.
The Bears gave Ford a chance on two kickoff returns, which he returned for a total of 49 yards. Clearly the team feels comfortable with running backs Shaun Draughn and Ka’Deem Carey, and has enough on special teams to replace Ford, who appeared in 12 games on special teams last season, when he was an undrafted rookie.
Collins had a great 2013 preseason and was coming on strong when he replaced Henry Melton, but tore his ACL. He re-signed, and the Bears had high hopes for him, but with rookies Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton in the fold, Collins had not done enough to crack the second team. He played only six snaps against the Seahawks and did not record a tackle in three preseason games.
Wilson had a chance to compete for a starting spot at safety, but the five-time Pro Bowler rarely got reps with the first team. At 34 and coming off a foot injury last preseason, Wilson could not return to his Pro Bowl form.
In addition to cutting quarterback Jordan Palmer early Sunday evening, the Bears also released return man Darius Reynaud and linebacker Jordan Senn.
Reynaud was signed early last week and had two kickoff returns for 40 yards against the Seahawks. The Bears wanted to kick the tires on Reynaud to see if he could be the spark the return game needed.
Senn signed with the Bears early in free agency, originally thought to be Blake Costanzo's replacement as a special-teams contributor and reserve linebacker, but Senn was buried deep on the linebacker depth chart and was not with the first-team units on kick coverage.
The Bears also waived tackle Joe Long, wide receivers Greg Herd and Kofi Hughes, and cornerbacks Derricus Purdy and Peyton Thompson, and they cut guard/center Dylan Gandy. Long joined the team late last season, but struggled this preseason, including a pair of holding penalties against the Eagles.
The deadline to have the roster at 75 players is Tuesday afternoon. The Bears' final cuts will come on Saturday, when they set their opening 53-man roster.