Bears notebook: Team cuts WR Javon Wims
The 2018 seventh-round draft pick flashed potential in his three seasons but had some dubious moments in 2020 — an altercation with Saints CB C.J. Gardner-Johnson in the regular season that earned a two-game suspension and a drop in the end zone against the Saints in the playoffs.
The Bears waived wide receiver Javon Wims, who flashed potential since being drafted in the seventh round in 2018 but was unable to build on that in three seasons.
Wims’ roster status was tenuous after he dropped a 40-yard touchdown pass from Mitch Trubisky on an otherwise well-executed trick play in the playoff loss to the Saints in January. That followed a disappointing regular season in which he caught a one-yard touchdown pass from Trubisky in the season-opening victory over the Lions but was suspended for two games in midseason after being goaded into an altercation with Saints cornerback C.J. Gardner-Johnson, punching Gardner-Johnson twice in the facemask.
The 6-4, 219-pound Wims caught six passes for 48 yards in 13 games (294 snaps) last season — a drop from 18 catches for 186 yards and a touchdown in 16 games in 2019 (487 snaps).
The Bears fortified their receiver corps in the offseason, adding veterans Marquise Goodwin and Damiere Byrd in free agency and sixth-round draft pick Dazz Newsome. With Rodney Adams and Jon’Vea Johnson also impressive in camp, Wims faced an uphill battle for a roster spot.
Wims made an initial impression as a rookie in 2018 with four catches for 32 yards in a Week 17 victory over the Vikings as the Bears were coasting into the playoffs. In three seasons, Wims caught 28 passes for 266 yards (9.5 average) and two touchdowns.
The Bears re-signed cornerback Dionte Ruffin to fill Wims’ roster spot.
The plane truth
The Bears will travel for the first time this season when they head to Nashville, Tennessee, for the final preseason game Saturday at Nissan Stadium. It’s their first trip with updated coronavirus rules, separating vaccinated players from unvaccinated players on the plane. Overall, the trip will be less restrictive for vaccinated players.
“Last year we were so thankful when we were able to even eat on the plane,” coach Matt Nagy said, “because you didn’t have to have your mask on and you could eat and then we would get yelled at if your mask wasn’t on and you weren’t eating, which is good. It’s gonna be different that way, which is good. It’ll be back to somewhat normal for those who are fully vaccinated.”
Rams in sight
With the preseason cut to three games, the Bears will have an extra week to prepare for their season opener against the Rams on Sept. 12 at SoFi Stadium. It’ll be a little awkward, with the roster cut from 80 players to 53 on Tuesday, followed by signing 16 players to the expanded practice squad.
Nagy said the Bears will formulate a game plan for the Rams game during the open week. But conditioning and being as healthy as possible — mentally and physically — for the opener will be a priority.
“It will be tons of meetings [and] a lot of walkthroughs, depending on where they’re at physically,” Nagy said. “We want to be smart there. We’ve got to make sure that whatever we’re doing is conditioning because you can’t lose that conditioning.”