No Bears player received more scrutiny this preseason and the past three years than offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb, and his time with Chicago came to an end Friday.
Webb was one of 17 players cut, as the Bears trimmed their roster to 58 players.
The deadline to have a roster of 53 players is at 4 p.m. today.
In addition to Webb, the Bears waived the following players: Armando Allen, Derek Dennis, Jerry Franklin, Brittan Golden, Brandon Hartson, Demontre Hurst, Josh Lenz, Tom Nelson, Fendi Onobun, Christian Tupou, Harvey Unga, Aston Whiteside and Josh Williams.
Three vested veterans had their contracts terminated: Trent Edwards, Jordan Palmer and Edwin Williams.
A seventh-round pick in 2010, Webb started every game in each of the past two seasons and had 12 starts in 14 appearances in 2010. According to Stats Inc., he allowed 33.5 sacks in those three seasons.
The Bears tried to light a fire under Webb, who has the size and athleticism for the position, by demoting him and cutting his base salary after the preseason opener.
It didn’t work.
Webb ran with the second team the rest of the summer, but couldn’t crack the final roster. He was flagged three times in the past two preseason games, including a false start in Thursday’s finale.
“It’ll be good to have a fresh start,” Webb wrote on his Facebook page. “[Three] years of starting with no injuries? [I’ll] be [OK]. I’m not different than many of you. Change is good.”
Onobun had a roller coaster summer. In practice, he flashed the athletic potential that the offensive coaches loved. In games, he looked flustered at times and had several drops.
The Bears can form an eight-man practice squad Sunday, and Onobun is a prime candidate, assuming no other team claims him off waivers. If the Bears are serious about the former basketball player’s potential, they can continue to develop him on the practice squad.
Another likely player to rejoin the team via the practice squad is Hurst, an undrafted rookie corner. He had a strong finish to his preseason, leading the team with seven tackles and picking off a pass in the preseason finale.
Whiteside made several plays in the opponent’s backfield during the preseason, including a big stop on a two-point conversion attempt against the Browns. He is also eligible to be a member of the Bears’ practice squad.
Allen was a victim of poor timing and impressive play from a rookie. His hamstring injury opened the door for Michael Ford, who took full advantage with a very productive preseason, giving the undrafted rookie the No. 3 running back job ahead of Allen.
By cutting Palmer and Edwards, the Bears chose to stick with two quarterbacks on the final roster, though will reportedly add a young signalcaller to the practice squad. Both Palmer and Edwards were efficient on Thursday.
“I’m blown away by the amazing Bears fans and their well wishes,” Palmer said on Twitter. “Classy organization and the best fan base I’ve been around Best of luck!’ ”