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Rams-Bears preview: Chicago has multiple unexpected former Rams on the roster

What familiar faces will be at SoFi Stadium this Sunday?

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

When the LA Rams surprise-released Nsimba Webster in mid-July, the 25-year-old special teamer had to feel concerned that his NFL career could end in 2021. And even if Webster has that unwavering confidence that so many pro football players have to have if they’re going to outlast the other 99-percent of NFL hopefuls, that belief too had to be shaken when he was also then released by the San Francisco 49ers on August 31st.

But against the odds, and unlike former teammates such as Micah Kiser and Dont’e Deayon, Webster appears set to be on a 53-man roster when the regular season begins this weekend. His opponent?

The Los Angeles Rams.

We are officially less than a week away from the Rams hosting the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football and when they do, they’ll see a number of familiar faces — none of whom we could have guessed would have been on the Bears just a few weeks ago.

Nsimba Webster, PR/KR

Almost anyone else will write down that Webster is a wide receiver, but I hesitate to do that for a player who isn’t in the NFL because of his abilities to play offense; Webster has eight offensive snaps and zero targets through two seasons. His career value as a fantasy football receiver? -2 points.

This isn’t demeaning Webster, it’s just acknowledging reality, and it would be misleading to say that Chicago acquired him for his route running abilities. I also think we have to eliminate the idea that Matt Nagy signed Webster for intel; a team could do a lot better spying than grabbing a player who didn’t even make it to training camp for some reason.

Though it’s unclear if Webster could return punts and kicks for the Bears, he will almost certainly be added to the coverage units, as Webster led the Rams with nine solo special teams tackles in 2020.

Of all the surprises to see on Sunday night, Nsimba Webster being present and on a 53-man roster at SoFi Stadium — but not in a Rams jersey — is the biggest one.

Alec Ogletree, OLB

If you didn’t know the story already, here’s the shortest version: Ogletree was visiting Robert Quinn in Chicago to watch the Olympics, the Bears heard he was in town, signed him, he was the star of training camp, and after being on a practice squad in 2020 he is now back in the NFL.

Chicago’s linebackers include Quinn, Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith, and seven-year veteran Christian Jones, so Ogletree opens the year as a reserve after getting only 73 defensive snaps with the New York Jets last season. But it’s still a better opportunity than he had with the Jets after two seasons and 26 games played with the New York Giants and a recent injury to Danny Trevathan could signal his chance.

The soon-to-be 30-year-old Ogletree may never find the same success he had during his five-year career with the Rams, but the fact that he’s still competing for opportunities — beginning against his former team this weekend — speaks highly of his commitment to second chances.

Nick Foles, QB

Though he’s been on the Bears roster for much longer than Ogletree and Webster, Foles is the player who currently stands the lowest odds of remaining on Chicago’s 53 when the season begins for the team in six days. While Ogletree and Webster were surprise additions within the last month, Foles is a surprise retention.

Not a soul in the world imagined that Nick Foles would still be the Bears’ number three QB when the 2021 season began.

Yes, a recent Super Bowl MVP with an $88 million contract (that he’s currently playing on) is locked into being the number three QB on a Chicago Bears team that can’t yet be sure about its one or two QB. What a wild journey for Foles.

Few quarterbacks will ever be traded once in their careers, but Foles is shooting for deal number three as he looks for an opportunity to compete to start again. The Bears know that Andy Dalton will start Week 1 against the Rams, as he’s been locked into that position since signing. We also know that virtually everyone inside and outside of Chicago is pulling for the team to give top pick Justin Fields a long look in the regular season.

So why is Foles still on the Bears with the first game kicking off in only a few days?

Six years after being traded to the Rams, five years after signing with the Kansas City Chiefs to backup Alex Smith, four years after winning a Super Bowl, three years after getting a second opportunity to unseat Carson Wentz and falling short, two years after signing a four-year, $88 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and one year after being traded to the Bears to replace Mitchell Trubisky (and not doing that), Nick Foles is back on the trading block.

Every team from the Eagles to the Bengals to the Cowboys to the Jets to the Colts and even back to the Jaguars has been and could be mentioned as a destination for Foles. Anything other than him being a third-string QB without a chance of moving up the chart barring injury would seem to be more ideal for Foles than his current situation.

But as it stands, he will be there at SoFi Stadium in a handful of days, secretly pulling for some team. It might not be the Bears.

Other former Rams on the Bears:

Robert Quinn, OLB

Quinn’s best season remains his 2013 campaign in St. Louis. Nothing else comes close. After posting 11.5 sacks and 22 QB hits in 2019 with the Cowboys, Quinn signed a big contract and then disappointed with only two sacks in 15 games with Chicago last season.

Cairo Santos, K

Spent two weeks on the Rams in 2018. He missed one extra point and went 5-of-6 on field goals.

Marqui Christian, SS

Appeared in 55 games for the Rams from 2016-2019. Served a two-game suspension in 2020 for unknown reasons. Was mostly on practice squads last year and he made the Bears 53-man roster this time.